Thursday, October 28, 2021

Ward upgrade at ‘squalid’ Christchurch Hospital wing to take Covid-19 patients

A Christchurch Hospital ward is being upgraded to improve ventilation and allow 32 more Covid-19 patients to be cared for safely.

The work, at the former acute medical assessment centre in the Parkside hospital building, is being managed by the Ministry of Health.

Canterbury health board staff were told in a newsletter that ventilation in the ward was being altered “so that the air moves from the central staff area towards the patient bed areas, making the staff areas safer”.

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Last month Stuff reported a $250 million plan to renovate the outdated and earthquake-damaged hospital wing was downgraded to a lower cost – a figure health authorities have refused to release publicly.

Clinicians have said patients in Christchurch Hospital’s Parkside wing were facing Third-World conditions in cramped six-bed wards that heightened risk of infectious diseases.

A board member described the wing as “squalid”.

One of Christchurch Hospital's six-bed wards in the Parkside building. The Ministry of Health is installing fans to improve ventilation for 32 beds which could take Covid-19 patients.

Supplied

One of Christchurch Hospital’s six-bed wards in the Parkside building. The Ministry of Health is installing fans to improve ventilation for 32 beds which could take Covid-19 patients.

In the health board newsletter, facilities and engineering manager Terry Walker said two large fans were being installed outside the ward to “extract large amounts of air from grills at above the patients bed heads and pass it through HEPA filters to safely exhaust to the atmosphere”.

The conversion will be able to accommodate 32 beds with improved airflow, he said.

Rob Ojala, executive director of facilities, said the Canterbury health board and the Ministry of Health were working closely and with urgency to convert the old ward for Covid-19 readiness well ahead of the original programme.

Christchurch Hospital’s emergency department. Clinicians are concerned health services could be overwhelmed if there is a surge of community cases in the region.

JOHN KIRK-ANDERSON/Stuff

Christchurch Hospital’s emergency department. Clinicians are concerned health services could be overwhelmed if there is a surge of community cases in the region.

In the event of a significant outbreak of COVID-19 cases, the upgraded ward, named Parkside Ground Medical, will provide a dedicated space for the health board to treat COVID-19 positive patients Ojala said.

“We expect the works on the new space to be completed by the end of this month.”

The Acute Medical Assessment Unit (AMAU) relocated to the new Waipapa building last year.

The vacated space in Christchurch Hospital has not been used since the relocation and this is the space being upgraded.

The last time Covid-19 patients were cared for at Christchurch Hospital was in January, when two people were transferred from MIQ.

Christchurch Hospital intensive care specialist and Association of Salaried Medical Specialists member Geoff Shaw said hospital staff across the South Island were very concerned health services could be overwhelmed by Covid-19.

Even if 100 per cent of the eligible population were vaccinated there would be about 700,000 children under the age of 12 years “to spread Covid around the community”.

Parkside building at Christchurch Hospital, where a ward is being upgraded to accommodate Covid-19 patients.

Joseph Johnson/Stuff

Parkside building at Christchurch Hospital, where a ward is being upgraded to accommodate Covid-19 patients.

Shaw said the target for vaccination needed to be “nothing less than 100 per cent of the eligible population”.

This would in turn reduce access to precious hospital services for people with cancer and other conditions.

“We know we’re going to get Covid, and it’s going to be endemic, and it’s going to have some impact on our health service.

“The question is how do we cope with that? And this is the silver lining.

“I think Covid provides us with an opportunity to rapidly improve the way we currently deliver care.”

This article first show on www.stuff.co.nz Source link Author CATE BROUGHTON on date 2021-10-06 22:25:38

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