The New Zealand Government is providing NZ$73m ($45m) for the initial stage of the six-phase Nelson Hospital redevelopment project.

The funding will allow work on an acute services and inpatient building at the facility to advance.

The new building can accommodate 255 beds and eight operating theatres, up from the existing 161 beds and six theatres, as well as a larger emergency department.

Requiring a total budget of NZ$1.098bn, the Nelson Hospital Redevelopment Project Whakatupuranga is expected to take more than ten years to complete.

New Zealand Health Minister Dr Ayesha Verrall described the redevelopment as “an exciting project, which will provide a stronger health system for the people at the Top of the South/Te Tau Ihu”.

Dr Verrall said: “The current hospital is too small, the spaces are poorly configured and some parts are not up to earthquake standards.

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“The hospital will be modern and fit-for-purpose for patients and their whānau. Our health sector staff also deserve workspaces that enable them to provide the best care, and to be safe at work.”

“Ensuring our health infrastructure is up-to-date and fit-for-purpose means New Zealanders will be able to better access the health services they need.”

The Nelson Hospital redevelopment is one of 110 health infrastructure projects worth a total of NZ$7.7bn currently being planned and delivered as part of efforts to rebuild and strengthen New Zealand’s hospitals and health infrastructure.

The project intends to address issues like space limitations, poor configuration and seismic vulnerability.

It will involve redesigning existing buildings and the seismic strengthening of structures to make them future-proof.

Dr Verrall said a major reason for the overhaul is to ensure the hospital’s resilience in the event of an earthquake on the Alpine fault line.

The project’s construction is scheduled to begin in 2026, with enabling works due to start next year.