By: Adam Pearse
North Shore and Whangarei hospitals will receive a $224 million funding boost to improve surgery units and add new facilities, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced today.
The Government will invest more than $200m in a new elective surgery unit to add 120 elective surgery beds and four new operating theatres at North Shore Hospital and $24m in new endoscopy and cardiac care capacity at Whangarei Hospital.
“It’s a priority of the Coalition Government to improve the wellbeing of all New Zealanders and their families and access to quality healthcare is a key part of that,” Ardern said.
“This investment will make a real difference to patients and their families and to staff working at the frontline after years of underfunding of facilities in the northern region.”
Ardern said these projects would ensure Auckland and Northland residents would receive the high-quality hospital care they deserved.
“We set aside a record $750m in this year’s Budget as a first step to rebuilding New Zealand’s hospitals so it’s pleasing to be delivering on our promise to ensure New Zealanders to have access to the health care they deserve.”
Health Minister David Clark said he was pleased with the Waitematā District Health Board’s funding plan which had been designed to allow for further capacity to be added as demand increased.
“This provides the opportunity for this facility to meet demand from elective patients from across the Auckland area and reduce waiting times,” Clark said.
“At more than $200m – subject to the detailed business case now being prepared – this is a significant investment which will serve the needs of Auckland’s rapidly growing population for years to come.”
Clark said the funding package for Whangarei District Health Board would provide for interim surgical and endoscopy facilities over the next 10 years while the longer-term redevelopment of the hospital was planned.
The funding will also allow for the establishment of a cardiac catheter laboratory.
“The prevalence of cardiovascular disease in Northland contributes to the greater life expectancy gap between Northland and the rest of the Northern region and between Māori and non-Māori,” Clark said.
“The new cardiac catheter lab will mean fewer avoidable deaths through improved cardiac care for Northlanders and represents a significant opportunity to improve equity of outcomes.”
Clark also welcomed the release today of the four northern DHBs’ Long Term Investment Plan.
Source: NZ Herald