The New Zealand Government has announced the expansion of the emergency department (ED) at Wellington Regional Hospital.

Health Minister Dr Ayesha Verrall revealed that government funding will support the construction of a larger facility, which would provide an extra 35 spaces.

This project aims to enhance the layout of the ED to accommodate modern healthcare models.

The current ED is unable to cope with the increasing demand for emergency services in the region.

By expanding and redesigning the emergency and acute assessment spaces, including the Medical Assessment and Planning, Surgical Assessment and Planning, and Clinical Measurement Units, as well as the Transit Lounge and Main Outpatients’ area, the project will help future-proof healthcare facilities in Wellington.

The expansion will add 26 medical and surgical assessment and planning spaces, four ICU beds, and 12 inpatient beds.

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The project will also involve a renovation of the ground floor and seismic resilience works to ensure the ED’s functionality during significant earthquakes.

The government has initially invested $10m to facilitate planning and design.

This initiative is part of a larger plan encompassing 104 health infrastructure projects nationwide, entailing a total cost of $6.8bn.

Verrall expects the Wellington ED expansion to offer health benefits to hundreds of thousands of people in the lower North Island.