Starship Hospital no longer fit for purpose, new DHB report reveals

A new report reveals Starship Children's Hospital is among several facilities in Auckland and Northland no longer fit for purpose.

Four District Health Boards (DHBs) released their Northern Region Long Term Investment Plan last week, which flags a number of problems with hospital facilities in the area.

It says 18.5 percent of facilities in the Northern Region are in poor or very poor condition, while 20 percent of all clinical services in the area currently operate from buildings deemed unfit for purpose.

Mould, leaks and asbestos are among the issues plaguing buildings including Auckland's Starship and the former National Women's Hospital in Greenlane.

Middlemore Hospital has also been identified as being unfit for purpose, particularly its Adult Rehabilitation and Health of Older People facility and the Galbraith Building.

Earlier in the year it was revealed that four buildings at Middlemore have serious rot and mould problems, posing health risks to staff and patients. The hospital was also exceeding bed capacity on a daily basis, leaving cancer patients facing treatment delays.

Northern Region DHBs also say much of the clinical equipment in the area's facilities, valued at more than $210m, is nearing the end of its lifespan and will need to be replaced.

The report says budget constraints for the four DHBs meant facility maintenance slid down their list of priorities, and with more than 500,000 patients expected to move into the Northern Region in the next 20 years, health services will be stretched even further.

The report, which was presented to Health Minister David Clark back in March, says a new hospital in the region is needed to meet the needs of a rapidly growing and aging population.

"Our current hospital facilities are already at capacity," it reads. "This issue will be compounded as our population grows and ages and as the demographic mix continue to evolve."

It's estimated that the Northern Region needs more than 2000 new beds and 40 new operating theatres to provide adequate care for the anticipated increase in patients.

Last week Minister Clark announced $224m of funding would be given to improve existing surgery units and build new facilities at hospitals in North Shore and Whangarei.