Multimillion-dollar expansion approved for Auckland's Middlemore Hospital

Relief is on the way for over-stretched cardiac and dialysis services at Auckland's Middlemore Hospital - their busiest emergency department.

A $15 million expansion has just been approved, which will help an extra 100 patients a week. 

Middlemore's catheter lab, where they carry out crucial coronary angiogram 'X-ray tests' to detect artery blockages, is under such severe pressure that staff are forced to send patients to private hospitals.

"At the moment we're outsourcing to the private system and it's expensive, and it's not fair that our patients have to go somewhere else to get their treatment," Dr Selwyn Wong, Middlemore's head of cardiology, told Newshub.

Funding for a second catheter lab has been approved on Thursday. It will take a few years to complete, but it will help ease the pressure. 

Wong says it can't come soon enough - and ideally, Middlemore needs three.

"Patients are at risk because they're waiting longer, so that will delay their treatment and sometimes will delay cardiac surgery or their procedures," Wong says.

"So there are certainly instances of patients that will suffer because of the delays."

It's a similar picture in the High Dependency Dialysis facility. The facility is designed to treat 80 patients a week, but they're currently seeing more than 92 - way overcapacity.

"There are patients who we would prefer to be in our high dependency dialysis unit who can't be there," Dr Chris Hood, head of renal, told Newshub.

"We have patients who we have to dialyse in the evening, when we would like to dialyse them in the daytime."

Counties Manukau has twice as much need for dialysis as the rest of the country.

The Government has now given the go-ahead for six new beds.

"These expanded services will make a significant difference, particularly for Māori and Pacific communities," says Minister of Health David Clark.

These changes will address health equity - not only for patients, but also for over-stretched staff.


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