Covid-19: Ministry of Health has yet to respond to requests for additional funding to increase intensive care capacity

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Canterbury, Bay of Plenty and Waitematā health officials asked for money to increase the capacity of their intensive care unit (ICU) weeks ago, but the Department of Health has yet to respond .

On October 18, the Canterbury District Health Board (CDHB) asked the government to fund 21 additional intensive care beds as authorities across the country prepare for the spread of Covid-19.

Nine of the 21 beds already exist at Waipapa Hospital in Christchurch, but there is not enough money to staff them.

Bay of Plenty executive director of business development and services Jeff Hodson said the board has requested $ 15.4 million for 20 coronary care unit (CCU) beds and six additional care beds intensive in October.

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The council has accelerated the preparation of its business case for the beds at the request of the Department of Health, Hodson said.

The business case was still in the process of ministry approval.

The work is part of the ministry’s national pandemic response planning. He will reallocate a section of the orthopedic ward at Tauranga Hospital to provide additional oxygen supply and better air management for ward environments and intensive care and intensive care areas.

In Waitematā, health officials submitted a $ 20 million business case to add an intensive care unit at Waitakere Hospital, according to board documents.

The three DHBs have not yet received a response from the Ministry of Health

Canterbury health officials are awaiting a response from the government on its request for additional money to increase the intensive care capacity of its hospitals.

ALDEN WILLIAMS / Tips

Canterbury health officials are awaiting a response from the government on its request for additional money to increase the intensive care capacity of its hospitals.

A ministry spokesperson confirmed last month that it had received “individual proposals” from Canterbury, Bay of Plenty and Waitematā health boards for additional intensive care capacity and that a decision could be expected “in the weeks to come “.

On Wednesday, the ministry said: “Decisions on this issue are not yet finalized.”

He did not respond to questions about whether requests were dealt with in a rush or when a response was expected.

Nationally, there are 284 resourced intensive / high-care unit beds in public hospitals, and that number can be increased to around 550 beds if needed, a ministry spokesperson said on Wednesday. last month.

The CDHB has 36 physical beds in intensive care units and intensive care areas for children in Waipapa.

It has 54 negative pressure rooms (isolation rooms often used for people with infectious diseases) in its facilities, including 38 at Christchurch Hospital.

The modernization work of a 33-bed service dedicated to the treatment of Covid-19 positive patients should be completed by the end of the month.

The work, in the former acute medical assessment center at Parkside Hospital, is being managed by the Department of Health.

Thing reported in August that a $ 250 million plan to renovate the obsolete and earthquake-damaged hospital wing had been downgraded at a lower cost – a figure health officials have refused to release.

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