Hospital extension nears completion
Work to expand capacity at Nelson’s only private specialist surgical hospital is proceeding smoothly, with a $5 million extension of Manuka Street Hospital due to be finished in early-mid November.
The ward extension will lift the number of beds to 22 and add a new patient and visitor lounge, a purpose-built consultation room, a new reception area and a covered entranceway.
With its smart new reception and canopycovered entry, Manuka Street Hospital (MSH) will enjoy a much more modern and functional interface with both public and patients.
The exterior design, which includes weatherboard cladding, retains a sense of tradition in keeping with the existing building and its neighbouring area.
Manuka Street Hospital general Manager Margaret Gibbs says the project represents an opportunity to “address inefficiencies and outdated features” of the hospital.
She says improved patient care and efficiency gains are among the expected benefits to flow from the new extension and enhanced layout.
“The new extension will allow MSH to provide patients with a ward design that meets current standards and enhances their care and recovery,”’ Margaret says.
“It will ensure MSH meets modern standards of care and to improve patient safety by ensuring our patients have state of the art facilities which enhance recovery, while still retaining the oldfashioned caring atmosphere for which MSH is renowned, that begins when the patient steps onto the grounds.
“Another key driver for me is to retain the surgeons’ confidence in the quality of hospital facilities that MSH can provide for their patients.”
Margaret says there is no doubt that patients’ surroundings have a major impact on patient safety and outcomes, and on the staff’s ability to do their jobs.
“The trend is to create healing environments which are emotionally and functionally supportive, she says.
“Research has shown that hospitals that feature new designs and amenities send patient satisfaction scores vaulting skywards, and that patients as healthcare consumers have expectations about the quality and design of facilities,” she says.
“Numerous medical studies have shown that single patient rooms, noise-absorbing floors and ceilings, and exposure to natural light help patients get home sooner.
“Private rooms reduce stress, make it easier for patients to sleep, speed recovery times, increase privacy and dignity, reduce hospital infection rates, and may even reduce the incidence of medical errors.
“Rooms with a view are proven to help patients recover faster with less pain; patients with exposure to sunlight require fewer painkillers.”
Leading property and construction specialist Gibbons Construction started work on site in December 2016.
The team took advantage of the Christmas holiday period, when the hospital was closed, to demolish the front of the old building.
The one-storey extension, approximately 900sqm, is on the front side of the hospital facing Manuka St. Civil works and landscaping are also taking place around the site.
Careful planning and preparation has ensured the hospital has been able to continue operating throughout 2017 while the work has continued.
“In conjunction with Manuka Street Hospital, we worked out a way to section off the existing hospital from the new build,” explains construction manager Richard Mabbott.
“We installed a temporary new entrance, along with temporary walls and access ways so staff and patients could continue to get around the hospital.”
Great care has also been taken to ensure that no dust or debris from the extension work gets into the hospital’s operational environment.
While the existing building is old, it has been well-maintained so has presented no unexpected hitches for the construction team.
“The main challenge has stemmed from work required to join the old structure with the new,’ says Richard. “In essence, with a project like this, you design and build as you go into it.
“Once you open up an old building, it’s never quite exactly how you perceived it to be so it’s a work in progress.
“The good news is that we’re nearly there and the new roof is 95 per cent over it now.” Gibbons has been working closely with the new development’s designers, Warren & Mahoney Architects. “We have a good working relationship with them and also with Manuka Street Hospital.”
Regular fortnightly meetings have been held with hospital staff to brief them on progress, along with weekly health and safety meetings.
“In regards to the operation of the hospital and the operation of the building site, health and safety is number one. We have had no negative feedback from neighbouring properties or the public. It’s all going well.”
Throughout this project, Gibbons has had around 14 of its team working on site, along with subcontractors.
A second stage development is also in the pipeline for Manuka Street Hospital, though no timeline has yet been set for this next large-scale expansion.
Founded by the late Bill Gibbons in 1950, Gibbons is built on family values and over the years has grown to become one of the largest property, development and construction companies in the upper South Island.
It has a long and successful track record of projects in the industrial, medical, commercial, retail and community sectors. Past projects include two local medical centres.