| 11 Aug 2020

The South Canterbury DHB Board have approved the full refurbishment and maintenance programme for the Timaru Hospital at the Board Meeting held in July 2020. The South Canterbury DHB will be spending $30m (including a new energy source) over the next three years on the Timaru Hospital facilities.

South Canterbury DHB Chief Executive, Nigel Trainor welcomes the refurbishment as the hospital hasn’t had any major attention in over 20 years. The Clinical Services Building (CSB) was built in 1976 and the last major refit was in 1999. The refurbishment programme is planned to be completed by December 2023. This timeframe allows us to continue delivering a high standard of care to our community as we rollout the phases of construction projects.

The Timaru Hospital’s future-proofing begun with the emergency and outpatient department, resuscitation area and ambulance bay completed in 2019. The front of hospital redevelopment which includes a new public and staff café, a new main entrance with an atrium, and an extension to the outpatient’s department commenced in June 2020.

“There have been several working groups set up with staff, consumer council and board members as a forum to discuss the redevelopment plans. These working groups were very useful to all parties, as it gave the staff, consumers and board members the chance to provide feedback and ideas about the changes to the facilities,” Nigel said.

A full review of all areas of the Timaru Hospital was undertaken with each working group looking at:

  • Our current clinical and non-clinical spaces
  • Where and how our services are provided currently
  • How we could make the current spaces fit for purpose clinically and create more integration between our services.

The reviews conducted by the working groups found the Clinical Services Building is lacking in physical space, which limits the ability to create more integration between our services.

The approved refurbishment and maintenance programme will provide:

  • Increased patient privacy
  • Improved security in the Clinical Services Building
  • Increased physical space
  • Improved patient flow
  • Separate entrance to the Emergency Department
  • Significant rehabilitation improvements in the ATR unit
  • Increased patient space in the wards and slight increase in bed numbers for the medical ward.
  • Improved storage
  • A full refurbishment of every single floor which will enable the Clinical Services Building to be utilised for another 15-20 years
  • New energy source to replace the current coal fired burners with 100% electricity which will decrease our carbon footprint.

Children & Maternity Refurbishment

The children’s and maternity refurbishment will be next to commence with a planned start date of February 2021. This redevelopment will include the addition of a new transitional care unit on level 2.

“The South Canterbury DHB were grateful to receive $2.0m towards the $3.5m refurbishment cost from Government’s $300m fund for immediate capital programs,” Nigel said.

The new purpose-built transitional care unit will mean preterm babies that are born at 34 weeks would not have to be transferred to Canterbury District Health Board, and the South Canterbury women can remain in their community.

“The maternity ward refurbishment will include an additional birthing room and a small day assessment unit, and will allow the ward to provide a mix primary births and high-risk secondary births,” Nigel said.

The children’s ward refurbishment will see an improved layout of rooms and bathroom facilities that will be adequate for young children and their families, through to young adolescents.

“The children’s ward will have improved day ward capabilities with the current neonatal unit moving from the children’s ward to the new transitional care unit,” Nigel said.

“We will also be refurbishing the women’s clinic and relocating the paediatric outpatient clinics to level 2, which will create a women’s and children’s hub on a single floor within the hospital.”

New Purpose Built AT&R Unit

The new $3.8m ATR unit will be purpose built for higher level of rehabilitation and is planned to link onto the existing Clinical Services Building.

“The existing AT&R space will become the outpatient’s hub which will include the outpatient department, medical day stay, physio department including a gym & pool, and a reception and waiting area,” Nigel said.

The South Canterbury District Health Board thanks the community for their understanding and patience when they arrive at the Timaru Hospital while to refurbishments are taking place. We will continue to provide regular updates as we progress through the refurbishment and maintenance programme.


Media contact:

Karen Berry
Communications Manager
South Canterbury District Health Board
P: 03 687 2395 | M: 021 139 7442