The Government will upgrade Middlemore Hospital next year to support planned and routine care, so non-COVID patients are safe when COVID patients are being treated.
Over $5 million capital has been allocated for converting 39 beds across Middlemore Hospital to minimise the spread of COVID-19 through a mix of isolation rooms, partitioning, negative and positive pressure rooms.
“With high vaccination rates and better treatments and prevention methods, we are shifting to better support planned and routine care while also safely caring for COVID-19 patients,” Health Minister Andrew Little said.
“Treating COVID patients can be disruptive to other treatment as additional precautions are taken for infection prevention and control. Today’s announcements are about minimising that disruption.
“We asked Counties-Manukau DHB to prioritise projects that would strengthen local hospitals to provide planned and routine care in the age of COVID-19, and could start as soon as possible in 2022, with some projects completed as early as March.
“Today I can confirm we will fund 36 upgrades at 24 local hospitals throughout the country, and the operational costs to support them, at a total cost of $644 million from the COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund. This includes the ICU and other upgrades at North Shore, Tauranga and Christchurch that were announced last week.
“The previous National Government left a legacy of massive underinvestment in health infrastructure, including ICU. For two whole years National didn’t invest a single cent in health infrastructure, despite a growing and ageing population. By contrast, the Labour Government has already put $6 billion into health infrastructure,” Andrew Little said.
“Now in 2022 we will also add 75 new standard inpatient beds in hospitals.
“Additionally, 355 existing inpatient beds will be converted into isolation or negative pressure environments, and a number of hospitals will have ventilation upgrades. These upgrades will allow routine and planned care to continue and patients with mild to moderate COVID-19 to be treated, while helping to protect all patients, visitors and staff from the virus.
“The upgrades include 23 new ICU/HDU beds, as well as 8 temporary bed conversions to ICU.
“New Zealand’s success in responding to the pandemic means there has never been more than 11 COVID-19 patients in ICU at any one time. The vast majority of people who get COVID won’t need to go to hospital, let alone need an ICU bed. Increasing ICU/HDU capacity is part of the wider plan to rebuild our health system,” Andrew Little said.