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Clyde maternity unit timeline shifts again

Clyde maternity unit timeline shifts again

Construction of the new maternity unit at Clyde will start in 2025, a Health New Zealand (HNZ) spokesperson told The Central App.

Dr Rob Ojala, HNZ (Te Whatu Ora) Te Waipounamu Regional Head of Infrastructure, said they expect to welcome families into the unit in 2026.

“The initial concept has been completed and work on the design is now underway, following the announcement of the additional funding last week.

“The Clyde Unit will have many similar building features and support the same model of care as the Wānaka Primary Birth Unit, but this is a new build rather than a conversion of the building,” Rob said.

The new unit includes three antenatal consultation rooms, one delivery room, one flexi-space, two postpartum rooms and a communal/whānau space.

Rob confirmed that Jasmax had previously completed the design work and that another architect is working on the plans.

“(We) are reviewing the initial design to meet national guidelines for new construction facilities. This work is being carried out by Oakley Gray Architects.”

The project is too late for expectant mothers in the district.

In August 2022, public meetings were held and the proposed design was shared with the community for feedback.

It was said to be a time frame of ‘about a year’.

In April 2023, plans for the new unit were postponed due to rising construction costs. A spokesman said the design may need to be adjusted to improve efficiency.

A month later, Karen Ferraccioli, Director of Midwifery at Te Whatu Ora Southern, reported that the tender process for a construction partner for the new Clyde site was underway.

It was planned to open in late 2024.

It will now be ready three years after the first indication of 2023.

Pregnant women can give birth in Alexandra in the primary maternity unit, now called the Central Otago Maternity Unit (formerly Charlotte Jean) and managed by HNZ.

However, some expectant mothers with complications must endure an uncomfortable journey by ambulance or car to hospital in Dunedin.

When the Clyde Unit is built at Dunstan Hospital, the nearby helicopter landing pad will allow people requiring additional care to be transferred quickly to a specialist centre in Dunedin. The flight takes around 20-30 minutes, compared to two and a half hours in an ambulance.

Rob said that all services and staff from the Alexandra ward will be moved to the new Clyde ward once it opens.