on the long-awaited new neonatal intensive care unit (NICU)
is getting under way at Dunedin Hospital.
The $7 million project, which includes a co-located inpatient
paediatric ward, is still in demolition phase. Work began
just before Christmas.
The new wards are on the first floor, on the site of the old
staff cafeteria and corporate district health board offices.
The paediatrics inpatient ward is moving from the Children's
Pavilion to the main hospital; the NICU is moving from the
The project is the last in the $24.38 million Dunedin and
Wakari hospitals' mastersite plan. The other 15 projects are
finished, with the co-located NICU-paediatrics ward to be
ready by the end of this year. Facilities and site
development manager Warren Taylor said clinical staff had
been waiting for more than a decade for a new NICU, and for
him, personally, it was satisfying to see the work get under
It was the biggest Dunedin Hospital clinical redevelopment
for well over a decade.
An inhouse design team worked well with clinicians to come up
with the plans, Mr Taylor said.
NICU charge nurse manager Jan Seuseu said the existing NICU
ward was cramped and lacked privacy, and was particularly
unsuitable at 100% occupancy.
Staff looked forward to the move, which had been a long time
The unit would have the same number of beds, 21, but would be
appointed to support full occupancy. Being the ''last cab off
the rank'' in New Zealand for a redevelopment had been a
positive, as lessons had been learnt from upgrades of other
hospitals' NICUs, Mrs Seuseu said.
The facility would be state of the art, she said.
The NICU is one of six tertiary units in New Zealand caring
for premature babies, and for those up to the age of 3
months. It mainly caters for Otago and Southland, but is part
of a nationwide network and can help other areas if their
units are full.
Children's health service manager (Otago) Linda Moir said
co-locating the paediatric and NICU wards was a New Zealand
first. The work is being jointly undertaken by Jeff King
Builders Ltd and Kennedy and McBeath Builders Ltd.