Better hospital care for Northland babies and their whānau

  • Hon Chris Hipkins
  • New paediatric facilities, including a Special Baby Care Unit
  • Up to 50 extra inpatient beds 
  • New lab facilities 

Northland babies and their whānau will soon have access to improved hospital care when they need it with Health Minister Chris Hipkins today confirming new paediatric facilities and more beds for Whangarei Hospital.

The package of investments for the DHB confirmed by Chris Hipkins also includes funds for an IT system which will support better mental and primary care throughout the Northland region.

“It’s important people in Northland can access modern high quality health services which deliver equitable health outcomes,” said Chris Hipkins.

“Services are under pressure at Whangarei Hospital and inpatient demand is at capacity. While the DHB works on the longer term project of a full redevelopment of the hospital, we need to make sure the needs of the community continue to be met.

“The Government is investing $48.2 million for urgent works at the hospital. This includes relocation and new fit out of paediatrics including the Special Care Baby Unit and laboratories. 

“This new funding will also deliver as many as 50 extra inpatient beds, including a new acute assessment unit. 

“There is also $17.1 million set aside for a new Regional Collaborative Community Care Solution for Northland DHB. The current IT platform which supports the delivery of mental health and community services is at risk of service disruption. 

“Around 700 people use the current system, but it’s difficult for staff to access whilst out in the community and it isn’t compatible with mobile devices. 

“The new platform will be more integrated across community care settings and centred on patients and whānau. It will provide care closer to home, better care for people with complex needs and improve access for those who are hard to reach.

“People will be able to better manage their own care. They will be able to view and update their information, book appointments, interact with their care team and access resources as part of their care plan.

“Improving our hospitals and medical infrastructure is a key part of this Government’s plan to tackle the long term issues in health,” said Chris Hipkins.

“We’ve set aside a record $3.5 billion for this important work in last three years and I’m pleased that this investment is making a real difference to the care available to the people of Northland.”

Notes to editors:
Both projects, which are funded from Budget 2019, have received business case approval. The critical works at Whangarei Hospital are due to start in late 2021 with completion expected in 2023. The new IT Regional Collaborative Community Care Solution is due to go live in late 2021. 

These projects build on the $24 million in Budget 2018 for an endoscopy suite (which is now open), increased theatre capacity and a cardiac catheterisation laboratory at Whangarei Hospital. 

An additional $10 million for Kaitaia Hospital as part of the New Zealand Upgrade Programme will also help to remediate poor condition buildings, including the maternity ward, main hospital block and community mental health.