Enrolled nurse Karen Neilson (left), Blanca Vallduvi and
orderly Bradley Hayward escort Isavena Vallduvi through the
new children's ward to her new room. Photo by Peter
Isavena Vallduvi might have an injured leg but her days
just got brighter with a move into Dunedin Hospital's new
The 8-year-old was the first child to move into the ward on
the first floor of the hospital's ward block yesterday.
''It's so much better; so cool.''
Her new room had a blue feature wall - her favourite colour -
an ensuite and a built-in sofa/bed for her mother, Blanca, if
''It's really nice. It has a toilet and a big window.''
The 2000sq m $7 million combined neonatal intensive care unit
(NICU)/paediatric ward was constructed out of the old staff
cafeteria and hospital administration block.
It also included the child assessment unit, where children
came after being referred from a general practitioner, after
hours medical service or the emergency department.
Children's Health clinical leader Dr David Barker said staff
had been planning and waiting for the move for many years.
''We're all extremely excited. I've never seen so many people
Yesterday, staff were moving the last of the equipment and
testing the new as they welcomed children from the old wards,
which were no longer fit for their purpose, he said.
''The whole area is purpose-built for children and their
families. It has more space, is modern and is comparable to
any other children's facility in a hospital this size.''
It was also notable in having its NICU and children's ward
adjoining, he said.
There were single rooms to give children and their families
more privacy, a light-filled play area, murals by Otago
Polytechnic students on the walls and even a Snoezelen room
for children who needed to be calmed or stimulated.
The new unit would be officially opened in February.