Limitoo News

Nelson Hospital revamp improves ability to treat Covid-19 patients

More than $1 million has been spent reconfiguring Nelson Hospital to better treat patients with Covid-19.

Counties Manukau Health says it has enacted special escalation plans, including cancelling elective surgery, to deal with a surge in patients visiting Middlemore Hospital's emergency department.
(file picture) Photo: 123RF

In December, Health Minister Andrew Little announced 24 hospitals would receive upgrades to support planned and routine care and to ensure patients both with and without Covid-19 could be safely treated through the pandemic.

Of the 36 upgrades totalling $644m from the Covid-19 Response and Recovery Fund, three were at Nelson Hospital.

It received $1m to create additional space within the emergency department, $100,000 to partition off parts of the intensive care unit and create negative air flow to a number of rooms and $50,000 to create a dedicated Covid-19 ward.

Figures obtained under the Official Information Act show the number of beds and ventilators remains the same as it was at the beginning of the pandemic in early 2020 - with the exception of two additional intensive care coronary unit beds.

Nelson Marlborough Health chief executive Lexie O'Shea said Nelson Hospital's capacity for Covid-19 positive patients was expected to meet the requirements for those needing admission to hospital, based on national modelling work.

The emergency department had been modified to allow for green and red streaming of patients and the orthopaedic outpatient unit was relocated to a different part of the hospital complex.

A former dialysis space had been converted to house two new ICU beds.

O'Shea said "extensive infrastructure and building changes" had been made to enhance respiratory isolation care.

The assessment, treatment and rehabilitation unit was relocated to make room for a dedicated Covid-19 ward, which opened in February.

And six respiratory isolation rooms were added to the emergency department to separate patients with Covid-19.

The final cost of the projects was not yet known.