Hospital finishing dispute drags on till at least Easter

With the opening of the new Greymouth Te Nikau Hospital now looking like Easter at the earliest, National Party list MP Maureen Pugh has written to the Prime Minister asking her to speed things along.

Fletchers began construction at the Greymouth site in 2016, and the $77.8million building was supposed to open almost two years ago. The cost has now risen to almost $91million.

Going by the latest estimates, it could be April or even later, before the much-needed hospital is finally signed off.

The West Coast District Health Board has said the delay in opening the new building is costing it $50,000 a month.

Fletcher Building, which is leading the build, is in a $31million contractual dispute with the Ministry of Health.

Mrs Pugh said yesterday the new hospital was supposed to open in 2018, but the lingering contractual impasse between Fletcher Construction and the Ministry of Health meant there was no opening date in sight.

"Progress on this much-needed new hospital would provide the West Coast with some positive news to kick off the new decade.

"This contractual dispute cannot be allowed to meander in legal fog. Coasters deserve a medical facility that is earthquake-safe and fit for purpose."

The journey some locals had to make to Christchurch for outpatient appointments was a constant source of frustration, Mrs Pugh said.

DHB chief executive David Meates told board members recently that the DHB’s migration into the new facility was "increasingly delayed and pushing out further into 2020".

"The building itself has reached a high level of completion; however, issues with defecting and the commissioning of the facility are impacting on the programme.

"The West Coast DHB facilities redevelopment team continue to work with the project consultants and Fletcher in planning for the functional reviews of clinical areas and ... elements such as commissioning of medical gases, theatre ventilation and operations of plant equipment."



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