Hawke’s Bay new private hospital Kaweka will help cut local surgery waiting lists when it opens for business at the end of August.
The state-of -the-art $40m hospital, owned and operated by a group of local doctors in partnership with some key investor families, will add over 5,000 surgical procedures a year (including about 1,200 on contract to the public hospital) into the local healthcare sector.
Managing director Dr Colin Hutchison says the overall aim of the hospital is to deliver more healthcare to Hawke’s Bay in a better way, empowering local clinicians to work quickly and effectively.
“It’s about local doctors responding to local need,” he says.
“Currently a key block to the provision of healthcare is the lack of healthcare facilities in the Bay and that is why we have focused on new facilities first.”
Dr Hutchison says Kaweka Hospital will allow greater choice in private surgery in Hawke’s Bay as well as much needed support to the public surgery register.
“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.
“Our aim is to treat people quicker so that they have the opportunity to return to living a better quality of life.”
The new hospital includes four operating theatres and 10 inpatient beds, each with their own ensuite. It opens with a team of 40 surgical and non-surgical specialists on board offering ENT (ear, nose and throat), general surgery, gynaecology, urology, ophthalmology and gastroenterology supported by a 75 strong team of technicians, nurses, and wider support staff.
With its name gifted by Ngahiwi Tōmoana of Ngāti Kahungunu iwi, Kaweka Hospital features the latest in healthcare technology and has a modern layout and design configured by New Zealand’s leading Health Planner Ruth Whitehead and local architects – Architecture HDT. The overall design uses natural light and natural woods and there is an emphasis on being as paperless as possible in the day to day running of hospital business.
“We have focused on creating a healing rather than clinical environment,” says Hutchison.
While the hospital’s independent, community ownership model is a new thing for HB, Hutchison says the development team has drawn inspiration from a similar Christchurch-based venture – Forté Health, a private hospital run by local surgeons and families.
Kaweka Hospital board chairman and ENT specialist Mr Stephen Toynton says 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”.
“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.”
Kaweka Hospital’s stage 1 development in Canning Rd, opposite Hastings Hospital, was officially launched at a special event attended by Minister of Health Hon. Andrew Little last week.
A second $60 millon Stage 2 development is also under construction and will open in late 2024, adding a new radiology suite with MRI, CT and Breast imaging and a new cardiac catheterization laboratory in a 6,000 m2 complex.