Greymouth hospital faces disruptions
Patients at Grey Base Hospital in Greymouth face major disruptions after two buildings were found to be earthquake-prone.
The West Coast District Health Board has received engineering reports on buildings that house multiple wards and the hospital's administration, advising the structures are quake-prone.
Board chief executive David Meates said engineers had advised the hospital to make plans to relocate the Morice Ward, the critical-care unit, the Waterson day-surgery unit, the McBrearty Ward and medical administration to another building.
"Their advice is that we don't have to relocate immediately, but we do need to make alternative plans," he said.
The second quake-prone building, the Hannan and Barclay Ward, could be strengthened, he said.
"Specifically, we need to strengthen four columns in this building. Over the past 24 hours we have moved quickly to take advice from structural engineers and we now have a plan in place to undertake this work in the next seven to eight weeks," he said.
"Over the next two weeks, clinical teams will be working through how services can be relocated to ensure a smooth transition to minimise disruption to current services."
The board had also received preliminary advice on the roof structure in the hospital's laboratory building, and some strengthening was required. This would take place over the next three months and should not disrupt services.
Meates said the strengthening of the Hannan and Barclay Ward building would lift its compliance to an acceptable level for occupation.
However, the immediate fixes were not sustainable but would provide some short-term breathing space to enable long-term plans to be agreed.
"Six years ago, the West Coast DHB ran a desktop study on both these buildings to determine earthquake compliance, but since the Christchurch earthquakes, organisations across the country have been re-evaluating their seismic compliance,'' Meates said.
"The state of our buildings has not changed in those six years, but compliance requirements have."
All facilities on the Greymouth site were going through detailed engineering reports.
"I want to assure our people and the community that we are very focused on the safety of patients and staff, alongside the need to provide continuity of health services on the West Coast," Meates said.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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