I’m delighted to be here today, some 32 and a half years after Taupo Hospital was first opened, to officially open the redeveloped hospital on behalf of Minister of Health, Hon Tony Ryall.
The health of our families, and particularly our children, is one thing New Zealanders can’t take for granted.
Our Government is focusing its investments in the areas that matter most. In the past year we have spent $14.7 billion on health – the most ever.
And we’re seeing results:
· Our goal is 95% of ED patients dealt with within 6 hours – we’re at 94% (up from 87%)
· Another goal is an extra 4,000 elective surgeries a year – we’re at 105% of that target
· All patients for cancer treatment should start within four weeks – we’re at 100% (was 65% in 2008)
· And our goal is to have 90% of infants immunised – we’re at 91%
We’re reaching those goals with the help of talented nurses, doctors, surgeons and medical staff at hospitals such as Taupo Hospital.
In the past 32 years there have been many dedicated people who have walked the halls of Taupo Hospital since the first inpatient was admitted on 12 November 1971.
I understand we have some of the earlier medical staff here today – John Eastwood and Tony Ludbrook, with his wife Pru.
Taupo Hospital was originally planned as a 120-bed hospital but opened as a 25 bed unit. The original plan was to expand the hospital to four wards of 30 beds each.
What was originally built as a nurses’ home with accommodation for 13 nursing and three domestic staff, later turned into the maternity unit once it was moved from Spa Road.
For the first five years of the hospital’s life just one ward served as the surgical, medical and geriatric units.
After that he building of stage two kicked off in 1976 and saw the medical and geriatric patients moved into the new ward 2, leaving ward 1 as the surgical unit.
In the same year a specialist part-time physician was appointed. After his death a few months later, a new specialist physician, Dr Adrian Webb joined the staff after Easter 1978 and served as a full-time consultant.
Also in 1976 the Day Care Centre was commissioned. This was an area where staff could work in close liaison with physiotherapists.
In the 1970s Taupo’s general practitioners provided the anesthetic needs of the hospital, working on a roster system for surgery sessions and emergency conditions.
Patients admitted to the medical ward were usually admitted under their GP or the duty doctor of the day, but could be referred to the physician.
Clinics were held almost daily at the hospital by the surgeon, the physician, the orthopedic surgeon, dietitian and hearing aid technician.
The administration area was expanded at the same time as stage 2 of the expansion plan in 1976 and included offices for a number of staff, both medical and administrative.
A lecture room and library provided facilities for all staff and was greatly used.
Let’s now fast forward a few years.
A long term development plan was prepared for Taupo Hospital by Auckland firm Consultant Architects Messrs Fox, Blewett, Waite, Jeffs and Partners, for the period up to 2001. This plan included the transfer of the Taupo Maternity Services from Spa Road to the hospital site.
The current redevelopment plans for the hospital originally came from the 2001 Joint Study (Lakes DHB and Ministry of Health) which made a number of recommendations pertaining to Taupo Hospital and the services required for Taupo, Turangi and Mangakino.
This was followed in two years later by another study (Taupo Health Services Review) that provided a comprehensive guideline for the redevelopment of Taupo hospital, along with other health services for the Taupo/Turangi and Mangakino area.
Enabling works prior to redevelopment at Taupo Hospital started in autumn 2012.
Fletcher Construction was approved as the main contractor and construction started in October 2012.
The first stage saw maternity services co-located with a redeveloped Emergency Department, a new ambulance bay and half the inpatient unit redeveloped.
The Maternity Unit, Emergency and Radiology Departments were moved into their new premises in mid-September 2013.
Considerable seismic strengthening works are included in the upgrade.
Today we are able to see completed stages 1 and 2.
The third and final stage of redevelopment is being handled by Hawkins Construction and is being carried out in two phases.
I understand that when all three stages have been completed in summer 2015, an open day will be held to allow local people to see through the new hospital.
I’m sure many people will be pleasantly surprised with the changes.
Credit must go to all staff for the way in which they have worked around the redevelopment, being relocated several times during the process.
We are also extremely grateful for the substantial assistance the Taupo Hospital and Health Society have given to this project. Thank you, on behalf of the people of Taupo.
So here we are in 2014, 32 years later, and we have some great changes:
The redeveloped Taupo Hospital has:
· 17 general beds in the inpatient unit
· 10 cubicles, two resuscitation rooms and two short stay rooms in the Emergency Department
· Three postnatal beds and two birthing/delivery rooms which for the maternity unit
· Day Stay – five treatment areas plus theatre admission area
This redevelopment will make it much easier for the people who are working to look after the patients of Taupo to get around the hospital. Health professionals will be able to do their jobs more efficiently and spend more time caring for patients, instead of walking the corridors – which is great news for everyone.
Thank you once again for having me here today on behalf of the Minister of Health, and I look forward to visiting the hospital over the coming years.