The new hospital would contain two wards, an out-patient area, offices and teaching facilities, and the Academic Department of Paediatrics and Child Health would be embedded within it.
There were some difficulties in the planning phase. A plea to have air-conditioning installed throughout the new building was denied by the Minister of Health of the day, except for the isolation ward.
Cartoonist, Neville Lodge offered his perspective in 1983:
Floor plans were eventually finalised as seen below.
New Children's Hospital under construction in 1987
The new hospital was officially opened MP Peter Tapsell on 27 October, 1988.
|Peter Tapsell (foreground), Dick Laurenson, Director of Medical Services (background)||Peter Tapsell trying out playground gear with Wellington Mayor Belich|
viewed from NE
viewed from NW
|General ward||Day ward|
|School room||Sun deck|
The photo above shows the new hospital in relation to the rest of the hospital
It is the red-roofed building in the centre of the photo.
Writing in the magazine New Zealand Hospital (August 1988), Professor H J Weston had this to say about the new hospital.
In the ensuing years, paediatric services have grown, staff numbers increased and the Children’s Hospital is no longer adequate.
Once again, there has been a major hospital rebuilding programme, the initial plans for which would have seen a totally new Paediatric Facility included in the new Regional Hospital. However, cost constraints saw the decision taken to retain the existing Children’s Hospital. By 2008, there were plans to house paediatric wards and services in a renovated Grace Neill Block, but these plans were not proceeded with.
The Children's Hospital in 2020
In September 2016 Bill Day, the Chair of Wellington Hospitals Foundation (Capital and Coasts Hospitals official Charity) approached Wellington property developer and philanthropist, Mark Dunajtschik with an idea of Mr Dunajtschik supporting a new children's hospital to the value of $50 million. After considerable discreet discussions the government and Capital Coast District Health Board agreed to warmly accept Mr Dunajtschik proposal. On 14 July 2017 the then Prime minister Mr Bill English publicly announced that Mr Dunajtschik would not only donate a new hospital but he would build it and then donate the hospital to the public of Wellington region. This was a unique form of philanthropy.
At the media announcement Mr Dunajtschik explained why Wellington Hospitals Foundation proposal appealed to him in his quote
“My philosophy is people that are born with a healthy body and mind can look after themselves and those unfortunate to be born with, or suffering ill health need our help.“
- Mark Dunajtschik
In addition to Mr Dunajtschik's proposal the Wellington Hospital Foundation agreed to raise $6million from the community to equip and fit out the new hospital. This request to the Foundation was later increased to $10million.
The budgeted costs for the new 60 bed stand-alone children's hospital was as follows:
1. Mr Dunajtschik donation $50 million
2. Wellington Hospitals Foundation $10 million
3. Capital & Coast & Government $24 million
4. Govt (Drainage and demolitions) $21 million
The total being $105 million
John Tait - Chief Medical Officer at the time said that "building a new Regional Children's Hospital has given us the opportunity to fully review and introduce a new model of care for our young patients"
The new stand-alone hospital, joined to the main Regional Hospital by a "sky walk", is 7,500 sq.mtrs over three floors. There is to be one floor for surgical patients and one floor for medical patients. The ground floor will encompass day patients and many of the other paediatric services that are currently spread around the hospital campus. Statistics reveal that there are 87,000 children's visits to Wellington Regional Children's Hospital each year (many of these are follow-up visits). Doctors and Nurses are very excited at this change for children's health. In 1912 the community assisted in funding the very first children's hospital in New Zealand and here we are again over 100 years later the community are ensuring a new fit for purpose children's hospital for our young citizens of our region.
Weta Workshop have also created some wonderful and magical designs for the insides of the new hospital and it is Wellington Hospitals Foundation plan to ensure the hospital is equipped with the most modern equipment.
By early 2020, construction of the new hospital was well underway.
By early March, 2020, a substantial portion of the external cladding is in place. (This view from Adelaide Road)
The new Wellington is planned to open in approximately June 2021.