Hospital's 'red corridor' reopens

Waikato Hospital's main artery - the iconic "red corridor" which runs the length of hospital - will be reopened today after it was closed down six years ago.

The closure of the red route was to accommodate the construction of the now completed $130 million Meade Clinical Centre.

The corridor runs the length of the five-level 39,000sqm building, from the Older Persons and Rehabilitation Building on Pembroke St to the hospital's main entrance by the Hague Rd carpark building.

Waikato District Health Board communications director Mary Anne Gill commended the public and staff for their patience during the reconstruction.

"There have been times when staff left work on a Friday night through one door and returned on Monday morning through another door. For all that time we have provided care for our patients in a construction zone and our staff deserve thanks."

A new 60-metre timeline on level 2 of the centre, which covers the hospital's 130-year history and contains 226 historical images will also be unveiled.

In a statement to hospital staff, Waikato District Health Board chairman Bob Simcock said the diligence of staff while working through 10 years of reconstruction at the hospital was a "remarkable achievement".

The time had come to "change focus" from reconstruction to becoming world leaders in healthcare delivery, he wrote.

"The next 10 years will be defined by how we change the way we do things so we can use the new buildings and our other resources to deliver the best possible care to our patients and the communities we serve."

Family members of the late Dr John Anthony Meade, after whom the Meade Clinical Centre was named, will attend the opening. They include four of Meade's five children, Joanna Taylor, Liz Russell, Richard and Caroline Meade.

Special guest Edward John Meade McKibbin, 3, will help cut the ribbon with Waikato DHB's longest-serving staff member George Woodcock, who joined the hospital 54 years ago, new graduate nurse Victoria Smith, chief operating officer Jan Adams and building programme project director Ian Wolstencroft.

After the opening, staff will move to the second floor for the unveiling of the timeline, where Dr Peter Rothwell, whose idea it was to construct the timeline, will join Waikato Health Trust chair Pippa Mahood, writer Georgina Wedge and photographer Isla Trapski to cut the ribbon.

The Waikato DHB began a $500 million service and facility redevelopment project in 2005.

The biggest projects were at its Waiora Waikato hospital campus, where the total rebuild has provided more than 800 jobs and more than $100 million flowing into the community.

Significant building and refurbishment projects were also done at Thames Hospital and in some rural facilities.

The last major project, the construction of a 4 -storey building on the site of the demolished Smith Building which will house wards and cancer treatment services, is still at least six years away .

Waikato Times