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Wellington Children's Hospital is turning 100!

Wellington Children's Hospital is celebrating its centenary in 2012.

The past…

  • Wellington Hospital opened in Newtown in 1881, with 4 general, adult wards.
  • In 1888, the first additional building was opened. This was a 2-storey block at the west end of the main corridor, and comprised a ward for 22 children on the ground floor, and accommodation for 21 nurses on the upper floor. It remained the only accommodation for paediatric patients until 1912.
  • A purpose built Children's Hospital, The King Edward VII Memorial Hospital, was opened on 13/3/1912 by the Governor, Lord Islington. This was the first hospital of its kind in New Zealand.
  • The Children’s Hospital comprised two wards, an operating theatre, and various general services. Initially, the complex was not connected to the main hospital, except by an overhead steam pipe. A connecting corridor and lift tower at the east end of the main hospital corridor was not constructed until 1929. The King Edward VII Memorial Hospital remained in use until a new Paediatric Facility was opened in 1988 (exactly 100 years after the very first Children's Ward). The old hospital was demolished.

 

And the present…

  • The number of children who passed through Wellington Children's Hospital and Children's Outpatients hospital last year was in excess of 23,000. This includes inpatients and treatments given to children through the Emergency Department, Outpatient Clinics and Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.
  • As Wellington Hospital is a Tertiary Hospital its patients come from an area whose population is 900,000. The Hospital's catchment area includes Taranaki across to the Hawkes Bay, Wairarapa, Manawatu, Wellington and Marlborough in the South Island.
  • Last year over 4300 young people were patients in Wellington Children's Hospital, with breakdown being as follows: 4,300 age 0 - 16 years Hospital Patients 1,100 Neonatal babies 18,000 Child outpatient visits.

 

Latest redevelopment

Wellington Children's Hospital has just undergone a redevelopment programme that has resulted in a new expanded Children’s Outpatient area in the Grace Neill Building and expanded areas of Wards 18 & 19, including a new Acute Assessment area and a redesign of the paediatric oncology day unit.

The $900,000 refurbishment was partially funded by donations from Fresh Future, Child Cancer Foundation and the Wellington Hospitals and Health Foundation.

As the tertiary hospital for our region the role of paediatric staff is multi-disciplinary and includes hospital ward staff, surgical teams, maternity, acute assessment services, and inpatient and outpatient departments, including diabetes specialists. In the community the ongoing needs of children are often supported by  paediatric community nurses and the Child Development Team as well as community based organisations and local GPs.

 

Governor-General officially launches the centenary year

Yesterday the Governor-General His Excellency Rt Hon Lt Gen Sir Jerry Mateparae and Her Excellency Lady Janine Mateparae visited Wellington Children's Hospital to officially open the refurbished Children's Wards and open the centenary year of Wellington Children's Hospital.

Their Excellencies were greeted by members of the Board and Executive and were taken through the Children’s Hospital by the ward staff, having the opportunity to meet some of the children on the ward.

The renovations were officially opened with speeches from Dr Virginia Hope, Board Chair and the Governor-General.

“100 years ago the community helped build the first children's hospital in NZ here in Wellington and today we are pleased to open the refurbished Children's Hospital wards,” said Dr Hope, “Child health is an ongoing priority for us all and this DHB is committed to improving child health outcomes across the board, but in particular to ensuring those children from lower socio economic communities get the best start in life possible.”

Sir Jerry Mateparae talked about the number of connections between our neighbours, the successive Governors-General and the Wellington Children’s Hospital.

“Wellington Children’s Hospital has provided a home away from home for sick and injured children for one hundred years. New Zealand’s most precious taonga are our children – our tamariki,” said Sir Jerry, “Children are vulnerable, and when unwell they are the most vulnerable members of our society. It is important that we protect and care for their health and wellbeing. While we hold the children of today in our hands, they hold the future of our country in theirs.”

Sir Jerry and Lady Janine concluded celebrations by unveiling a plaque officially opening the renovated wards. .