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Kaweka Hospital sets new standard in care

Local business leaders and local specialists have partnered to open a new independent community-led Hospital in Hastings. Stage 1, an investment of over $40 million, with four operating theatres and 10 inpatient beds opened at the end of August and Stage 2, of over $60 million, when completed in late 2024 will create a state of the art health campus.

Kaweka Hospital’s managing director, Colin Hutchison says the first stage of two stages, opened with four operating theatres and 10 inpatient beds and a team of 40 surgical and non-surgical specialists offering ENT (ear, nose and throat), general surgery, gynaecology, urology, ophthalmology and gastroenterology supported by a further 75 staff including technicians, nurses, and wider support staff.

The hospital is a joint venture investment by medical specialists and management along with local families dedicated to increasing accessibility to health care in the region. Stage 2’s 6000m2 complex adds a new radiology suite with MRI, CT and Breast imaging and a new cardiac catheterization laboratory.

Colin says Kaweka Hospital brings on stream over 5000 surgical procedures a year into the local healthcare sector, giving greater choice in private surgery as well as much needed support to the public surgery register.

“Kaweka Hospital will ensure more Hawke’s Bay residents can get access to surgical procedures faster, which ultimately improves the health and well-being of the region.

“Together, this dedicated and highly experienced team are focussed on delivering exceptional surgical care, using the latest technology in a modern purpose-built private hospital.

The overall construction of Stage 1 and 2 has been overseen by Nick Ward of PML, who said the completion of the first stage was hit by ‘never seen before’ challenges.

“It has been a challenging ride navigating the Covid lockdowns, worker absenteeism, supply chain disruption, industry shortages, and an over-heated construction market – but together we got there. He added that the focus was now on completing the Stage 2 medical facility currently in construction.

“We are excited to be managing the first base-isolated building in Hawke’s Bay providing resilient construction to serve multiple generations to come. The hospital has a contract for service to provide surgical provision for the region’s public hospital. “The private health sector is here to support the public sector.

Although the public sector provides the bulk of healthcare, as a partner to Te Whatu Ora (Health New Zealand) we can also provide some public capacity. Kaweka Hospital board chairman and ENT specialist Mr Stephen Toynton says the idea of a new private hospital for Hawke’s Bay was due to the desire of a group of senior local doctors to increase access to healthcare facilities.

“Most private hospitals are part of larger organisations and consequently they are not owned by people within their communities, this means there is a lack of local decision making, direction and connectivity.

“As a group of local doctors we thought outside of the box to solve the problem, designing a new model and standard in surgical care and have been joined in partnership with some incredible Hawke’s Bay families that supported the project.

“Our surgeons and anaesthetists wanted to guide this project for the future of Hawke’s Bay and that is easier by keeping the hospital in local ownership and governance. He adds that the hospital features the latest in healthcare technology, modern layout and design by New Zealand’s leading Health Planner Ruth Whitehead and local architects – Architecture HDT.

The cancer care clinic in Stage 2 will be operated by Canopy Healthcare Group, which is the largest North Island diagnostic imaging provider with its TRG Imaging brand while its Canopy Cancer Care company is the largest private medical oncology provider in New Zealand.

Canopy Healthcare Group Chief Executive, Tony Moffatt, says the $10 million clinic will be a first of its kind in New Zealand – a full service imaging, consultation and oncology treatment centre offering state-of-the-art MRI and CT scanning technology and specialist oncology treatment under “one roof”.

“We are introducing more MRI and CT capacity into the Bay and for patients it means earlier diagnosis, world class imaging and immediate cancer treatment, all in the region.

“Presently people going through non-DHB chemotherapy have to travel out of Hawke’s Bay to receive their treatment, which can be stressful and physically demanding, they then return home before going through the same thing again three weeks later.

The new three-storey building features the Rolls Royce of seismic design and earthquake proofing – using “base isolation” technology, which is a first for buildings in Hawke’s Bay.

The technology enables the facility to remain fully functional following a large seismic event providing assurance to Kaweka Health and the wider community in a time when it may be needed.