Taranaki DHB working to improve resilience of Base Hospital campus
26 March 2019
Final reports by expert engineers about the earthquake prone status of buildings at Taranaki Base Hospital support the Taranaki District Health Board’s plan to move forward with Phase 2 of Project Maunga – the hospital’s new east wing building.
Rosemary Clements, Taranaki DHB Chief Executive, says the DHB is satisfied the final reports and the recommendations are in line with what the draft reports released in 2018 indicated.
“Overall the reports provide validation for plans that are already underway to improve the structural integrity of the hospital campus including the new east wing building to be completed 2023 or sooner.”
At the Taranaki Base Hospital campus, four clinical buildings and three office buildings have been confirmed to be earthquake prone and recommendations have been made in a seismic risk management plan prepared by consultants RCP.
“Hospital staff were informed of the updated reports this afternoon and assured there is no cause for concern.
“Earthquake prone buildings are a widespread issue across Taranaki and New Zealand. Multiple other DHBs also have earthquake prone buildings and due to the nature of the essential services hospitals provide, this means we need to continue to operate 24/7 while also ensuring the safety of staff and patients.
“Any risks associated with our earthquake prone buildings are being proactively monitored and managed and our Seismic Risk Management Plan has identified practicable steps and recommendations that can be undertaken to improve the resilience of the Base Hospital campus,” says Mrs Clements.
One of these recommendations is the removal of Block C in the near future and this will require the relocation of the renal, dental, audiology and speech language services it houses.
“To relocate these services and remove the building will take planning and resources and we are carefully considering the options and will consult closely with staff and the Ministry about this in the immediate future,” explains Mrs Clements.
The buildings that the Emergency Department, Intensive Care Unit, Maternity, Radiology and Laboratory services are in will continue to be occupied until the completion of the hospital’s new east wing building in 2023 or sooner.
“The hospital buildings containing many of those clinical services are ‘Priority Buildings’ which are held to a higher standard than many commercial or residential buildings because of their role in emergency support after a major disaster,” Mrs Clements says.
“This means that the DHB must address the earthquake prone buildings in 12 and a half years as opposed to the 25 years required if they were Non-Priority buildings. With plans for the new building progressing, we intend to remedy these issues much sooner than that.
“The Barrett Block is the only Earthquake Prone Building that is a Non-Priority building. Staff and residents have been informed and the future use of the building is under review,” says Mrs Clements.
The final seismic reports have been lodged with the New Plymouth District Council and Earthquake Prone Building Notices showing the seismic grade of each affected building are now displayed in their entranceways.
“The second stage of Project Maunga two – the hospitals new east wing building development – will provide a purpose-built building, that will meet the highest seismic standards. This is expected to be completed by 2023 or sooner.
“At the moment planning and work is well on track to achieve this new and exciting milestone for Taranaki,” Mrs Clements adds.
For more information please contact: Cressida Gates-Thompson, Communications Manager, 027 703 6177
Last updated: Tuesday, March 26, 2019