Hawke's Bay Hospital defends 'unacceptable', 'disgusting' heat issues

The Hawke's Bay District Health Board says a multimillion-dollar price tag and aging infrastructure is holding Hawke's Bay Hospital back from a functional air conditioning system, despite numerous complaints.

Visitors and patients of the hospital have been sharing their frustrations throughout the immense heat being felt during summer.

One woman posted in a community group on Facebook claiming she had attempted to drop off a fan for one suffering patient but was told it wasn't allowed without an electrical certificate.

"Hastings hospital [there's] no air con for patients and not enough fans for patients.... in this heat is disgusting," she wrote.

"I questioned TV, IPad, computer, cell phones. This is unacceptable, it is like an oven in this hospital on the wards."

Other locals said they had experienced similar conditions while staying there.

"It was sooooo hot. Seriously was cooler standing outside under the sun," one said.

"Don't know what ward that was, but I believe a lot of patients have fans now, but air conditioning has been an issue for years. Don't forget the staff who are working in that heat as well," another wrote.

Hawke's Bay Hospital's chief operating officer Chris Ash told Newshub that there is air conditioning in some parts of the hospital, including in the ED, ICU, mental health, theatre block, endoscopy unit.

He said the DHB has also done a lot to address the heat in other parts of the building too.

"Most recently it has completed installing window tinting on all the north-facing windows of the ward block to help reduce the temperature inside the building."

"Fans are also available for every patient area to help with airflow. Due to safety, the DHB can't allow patients families to bring in fans unless it has an electrical certificate."

Ash said there are several factors which makes it hard to get air conditioning for the full facility, but they are working to see what other measures can be taken.

"The DHB acknowledges the wards get very hot in the summer, which is unpleasant for both patients and staff, however the age of the building makes installing air-conditioning difficult and expensive. 

"The estimated cost to install air-conditioning in the ward block is expected to be at least $7 million, however, the DHB is working with the Ministry of Health regarding the DHB's aging infrastructure."