Work is to be carried out to fix a range of problems at an ageing health clinic in Hamilton, the health minister promised yesterday.
Kim Wilson said that the ministry had been in talks with staff and was working with the Ministry of Public Works to carry out repairs.
She said: “The primary challenge is that the maintenance teams have been unable to fully repair the problems and restore the facility to minimum operations.
“Staff and management are equally concerned about the impact on our patients and the uncertainty of service provision. We are working to stabilise services in relocated venues.
“There are also concerns with previous structural problems and repairs under way which are not yet completed and were disrupting services before the health centre closure.
“We are now expediting these repairs to ensure they can be completed as quickly as possible.”
Ms Wilson was speaking after staff at Hamilton Health Centre in Victoria Street met the management team in the building’s car park yesterday to register their complaints about the building.
Ms Wilson said the government staff had “frank discussions” and that the Government appreciated their concerns.
Ms Wilson added: “The health centre has been under stress over the past month due to a number of structural problems with the facility and, most recently, three floods at the Hamilton Health Centre, water quality issues and several unsuccessful attempts to resolve the problems.
“The fire at Warwick Clinic further compounded the demands placed on our resources.
“Department of Health management and staff, along with the Ministry of Public Works, are working together to find the cause of the continued problem, in order to restore operations at the health centre.”
She explained that part of the problem was caused by old pipework in the building.
Ms Wilson said: “The building itself is quite old and the piping is primarily made out of galvanised pipes.
“During the course of a flood several weeks ago, they recognised that the pipes were in poor condition and they needed to replace them with the PVC pipes.
“When the pipes busted, the pumps busted and they had issues with the pumps because of the plumbing issues, but public works are working with us diligently to try to repair all of that so we can get the services operational as soon as possible.”
Ms Wilson was unable to estimate the cost of the repair work.
She added: “We appreciate staff frustration as this has been going on over this period of time and there is no end in sight at this moment.
“We are deeply appreciative of their patience and share their primary concern with the impact on patients and the public.
Ms Wilson said: “In the longer term, the ministry and Government will have to reconsider the adequacy of the health centre to meet the needs of public health services.
“This will be an ongoing discussion, but at this moment the priority is stabilising services to the public and restoring the Hamilton Health Centre to be operational as soon as possible.”