Prime Minister John Key entertains Brendan Forbes, who was in Dunedin Hospital's new paediatric unit with mother Sera Forbes. Photo by Gerard O'Brien.
Dunedin Hospital's new neonatal intensive care unit and
children's ward is ''world-class'', providing reassurance for
parents, and an excellent training facility for young
specialists, Prime Minister John Key said yesterday, at the
official opening of the $7 million unit.
The long-awaited new ward, which replaces cramped, outdated
facilities, has been accepting patients since December.
Speaking to staff, board members and other guests at the
opening, Mr Key acknowledged the efforts of health board
staff, as well as ''passionate pleas'' from Dunedin-based
list MP Michael Woodhouse for funding.
The unit was part of a $24.38 million package announced in
The unit supported Dunedin Hospital's training role for young
specialists, he said.
Mr Key said Dunedin Hospital as a whole was ''performing very
well'', notwithstanding this week's IT outage, which he noted
was on the ''front page'' of yesterday's Otago Daily
Mr Key said it was a major challenge to keep pace with
technological advances, which drove up health spending.
Children's health clinical leader Dr David Barker said the
unit had garnered much positive feedback since opening to
patients late last year. As well as modern clinical features,
it was a bright, child-friendly environment, he said.
The co-located facility was constructed on the site of the
old staff cafeteria and hospital administration block.
Board chairman Joe Butterfield, also speaking at the opening,
said the board needed more funding from the Government to
improve other parts of the hospital.
Speaking to media afterwards, Mr Key said more funding for
facility upgrades at Dunedin Hospital would be needed ''over
Touring the new facility, Mr Key met parents and young
patients, including Dunedin triplets Teiana, Renata, and Anya
Karena, who share a birthday with Mr Key, August 9.
He spoke to Mosgiel teen Charlie Brocks, a type 1 diabetic,
discussing possible future medical advances in diabetes.
Mr Key also spoke to Dunedin woman Sera Forbes about her
son's condition, which affects his breathing.
The pair are frequent visitors to the ward, and Mrs Forbes
said the new facility made a huge difference.
Now when she stayed with 8-month-old Brendan in the hospital,
she had her own shower.
Mr Woodhouse told the ODT the opening held particular
significance for him as his daughter Chloe (7) spent three
days in Nicu as a newborn with a heart problem.
He had brought daughter Isabel (13), who presented the ward
with a knitted blanket.