Upgrade to begin in triage

Timaru Hospital is getting a facelift.

The South Canterbury District Health Board (SCDHB) has launched its plans for an upgrade, starting with the emergency department's (ED) triage area. That work has started, with the aim of giving staff somewhere private to assess patients.

The SCDHB is also looking at the heating and cooling of the ED as part of its upgrade.

Kensington is also in the queue for an upgrade. The tender and building consent process will begin next week and is due to be completed by the end of April. Work is expected to start in May.

It will include upgrades to the high observation and de-escalation areas and the four-bed bedrooms. Kensington was last refurbished in 2005.

The hospital's Gardens Block will also be strengthened and refurbished this year.

Staff moved out of the building in July 2012 after an engineer's report warned the northern end of the six-storey building could suffer a catastrophic collapse in a severe earthquake.

SCDHB facilities manager Mark Fields said engineers and architects were now preparing plans for the block's tendering process.

"Once the plans have been completed the tendering process will begin and building consent will be applied for."

Builders are expected to spend 28 weeks on the project, from May 26.

The SCDHB proposed a major upgrade of the hospital in May 2012. However, those plans were quashed because it was not financially viable.

The Timaru Herald