Stocktake of hospital buildings to guide investment

  • Hon Dr David Clark

The Government now has the first ever clear and comprehensive picture of the state of New Zealand’s hospital buildings and other assets to help ensure future investment decisions deliver the best health outcomes for New Zealanders.

The Current State Assessment of DHB assets released today is the only consistent nationwide report on the condition and clinical fitness for purpose of DHB facilities and buildings ever completed. 

“Although Governments have known for some time that many of these buildings have serious faults including seismic weakness and weathertightness issues, until now no Government has ever had a comprehensive picture of the state of this vital infrastructure,” says Dr David Clark.

“This work has been a priority for me. DHB buildings are valued at around $24 billion making this an important investment area to get right.

“This report is part of the Ministry of Health’s National Asset Management Programme (NAMP), which in turn, is part of a Government wide focus to improve capital funding decisions, capital investment plans and asset management.

“I’d like to acknowledge the role DHBs have played in supporting this work and collaborating on the assessments. The report, which focuses on older DHB buildings, provides a good foundation for understanding the pressure points. 

“It shows site-wide infrastructure is in poorer condition compared to hospital campuses, and many acute care facilities and mental health facilities are below modern design standards. 

“These findings are not surprising given the accumulated underinvestment and problems that were ignored by the previous Government.

“The Ministry is working with DHBs, who are responsible for maintaining and renewing their assets, to address many of the issues identified in the report. This includes reviewing DHB asset management plans, following up on remediation issues and developing an asset risk, assurance and monitoring framework.

“The Government has already made a start on fixing the most pressing problems, committing a record $3.5 billion for DHB capital projects in our first three Budgets.

“This includes the $300 million health investment package in the New Zealand Upgrade Programme which also adds to the work we’re doing to rebuild and strengthen our hospitals and health facilities.

“Over the next decade, DHB infrastructure is expected to need $14 billion in funding. This is a long term programme of work, with many projects across the country requiring funding. 

“It’s crucial that future investment decisions are well informed for at least 10 years ahead so funding is directed to where it will be most effective and delivers more equitable and better health outcomes for New Zealanders. 

“The NAMP has already helped drive decisions to focus on site-wide infrastructure and mental health facilities in Budget 2019.

“The Ministry is developing a work programme to improve infrastructure delivery and asset management in the sector including a national framework with service design standards, maintenance and renewal strategies, capital planning guidance, and more focus on health equity and sustainability. 

“Over time, the NAMP and other work programmes in the Ministry’s Health Infrastructure Unit, will support the development of a long term investment strategy which will better inform decisions. The NAMP will deliver a National Asset Management Plan by 2022,” said Dr David Clark.