Purpose built facility for cancer treatment

15 September 2017

Plans for a purpose-built facility for people who need chemotherapy and other day stay treatments have been finalised. A paper proposing that building a new Gisborne Hospital Medical Day Unit start before the end of the year will go to the Hauora Tairāwhiti Board at the end of the month.

The new unit will cater for people who need intensive treatments like chemotherapy, blood and drug transfusions, and but who do not need to stay overnight in hospital.

In the last five years there has been a 150 percent increase in the number of people needing these types of treatments and all projections indicate that this trend will continue, says Tui te Ora Long-term Conditions Manager Natasha Ashworth.

“On average 180 treatments are carried out in the current facility each month and it can be quite crowded. Crowding and the layout of the space makes it difficult for staff to keep a constant watch on people receiving treatment. There is no option for privacy and related staff like Cancer Nurse Specialists and visiting oncologists are based in another part of the hospital.”

“We have done a lot of consultation with people who use the facility and staff to make sure the new unit will be fit for purpose and accommodate growing numbers. It will bring together all the relevant staff working with people with cancer and help us to better coordinate their care. It is likely to save people needing to travel to hospitals outside of Gisborne for some treatments.”

The facility has been mooted for some time. Local Member of Parliament Anne Tolley has been instrumental in the development and announced that Ministry of Health funding had been allocated for the build prior to the last election.

There have been a number of delays to the project while we made sure that any new building actually fitted into the long term vision for the Gisborne Hospital site, says Hauora Tairāwhiti Chief Executive Jim Green.

“The hospital is 30 years old and we needed to make sure that we are building on to a facility that will last the distance. A review was completed that showed the majority of Gisborne Hospital buildings are sound and will be for another 30 plus years. That review also looked at the location of many departments to optimise the adjacency of departments, access points, and space. We want to avoid building anything in an ad-hoc way.”

“Since then we have been looking at how to maximise the use of the Ministry funding for this build. Areas like the Emergency Department and Outpatients are also experiencing increasing demand and need redevelopment. Recently we investigated ways to include these departments in the Medical Day Unit project but in the end, it is not possible financially right now.”

“We are now confident that the plans going to the Board are the best use of this money and will provide a significant improvement in access to cancer and other treatments for all Tairāwhiti people.”

There has been a lot of community support for this project from the beginning says Board Chair David Scott. “The Gisborne Cancer Society has been involved in the planning of the new facility. It will provide a central location for the Cancer Society to meet with people at clinics. Gisborne Registered Master Builders have been very helpful and we have had pledges from Friends of the Hospital and the Terrier Racing Group for assistance with the fit out once it is built.”