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The New Zealand Community Trust (NZCT) and Wellington Hospitals Foundation are thrilled to announce a significant $1million investment in child health for our region.

Watch the announcement HERE.

Thanks to NZCT’s generous grant, the Foundation is another step closer to the $10 million needed to outfit and equip the interior of the region’s new children’s hospital.  This includes funding specialised medical equipment, as well as all the fittings, furnishings, communications, digital and creative aspects of this new purpose built paediatric facility.   

NZCT Chair, Alan Isaac said “When NZCT saw the opportunity to play a significant part in helping complete the new regional children’s hospital, we knew a major investment was needed. This is one of the biggest grants that NZCT has made to a charitable cause and we are honoured to partner with Wellington Hospitals Foundation to outfit and equip this much needed new service for children and families across central New Zealand.”  

As the official charity for CCDHB hospitals, Wellington Hospitals Foundation is working with the community to raise funds for the new hospital.  Chair Bill Day said, “We are privileged to partner with people who are passionate about child health.  Wellington Regional Children’s Hospital has a long history of community support and we are immensely grateful to NZCT for their incredible investment in this critical regional project.  Their support will help improve the health and well-being of thousands of sick tamariki and rangatahi across our wider area.”  

Te Wao Nui Child Health Service and Hospital, in the Mark Dunajtschik and Dorothy Spotswood building, will be a lifeline for families across our region.  With a large catchment area the new tertiary level hospital will provide exceptional high level health care to almost a million people in the lower North and upper South islands. 

Under a new hub and spoke model of care, critically and chronically sick children will be referred from smaller centres for major operations, specialist consultations and when lifesaving emergency and intensive care treatment is required.  

Dr Andrew Marshall, CCDHB Clinical Leader & Paediatrician said that, “The existing children’s hospital has long been considered unfit for purpose.  It has inadequate clinical and family spaces, insufficient isolation facilities and it also lacks some basic services such as air conditioning.  Child health outpatient services are also currently spread far and wide across the main hospital campus, and bringing these services under one roof will mean that they are much more easily accessed by families and will allow for much easier collaboration across different paediatric specialities for those children, like Markus, with complex or multidisciplinary needs.”

Hospital stays can have a profound impact on families and it’s a journey no family ever expects to go through.  The Bain family knows first-hand how frightening and challenging this can be after their energetic and bubbly son Markus was struck down with atypical Guilian-Barre, which is a rare disorder in which the body’s immune system attacks the nervous system.  The onset was so sudden and severe that within two weeks Markus was paralysed, had to be ventilated so that he could breathe, and was in full gut failure.  Mum Karyn told us, “This was extremely traumatic and scary for the whole family and we were only able to cope day to day as we waited to see improvements.”  In the last 18 months Markus has endured multiple surgeries and many unpleasant procedures as well as three long months recovering in Wellington Regional Children’s Hospital. 

The Bain family are thankful for Wellington Hospital Foundation supporters, like NZCT, who will make the new hospital a much more inviting and family friendly place for sick kids.  “The dedicated and experienced staff have gone out of their way to support us every step of the way but it has been heart breaking for me to see Markus removed from his home, school and community.  To have a place where the physical environment creates a positive experience is a small way of adding colour, life and a sense of fun back into a sick child’s world and I am so appreciative of everyone involved in building the new hospital.”  

Fortunately, because of the expertise and good care of numerous surgeons, nurses and allied hospital staff Markus is now on the mend, but he still has a long recovery ahead of him, and will need monthly infusions in the new hospital for some time.

NZCT are one of the largest funders of amateur sports and other cultural and charitable causes in the country including health returning proceeds raised via local kiwi hospitality businesses to assist sports teams and community groups across New Zealand. 

Alan said “We are thrilled to add two newcomers to our growing list of non-profit organisations that we support.  With the recent announcement of a further $1million grant to Christchurch’s Maia Health Foundation for their Child, Adolescent & Family Mental Health project, NZCT has made a substantive and important contribution to child health in New Zealand, which will make a huge difference to kiwi families facing a health crisis, for many years to come.”

Construction of the new hospital is nearing completion, with the CCDHB due to take ownership of the building from benefactors and builders, Mark Dunajtschik and Dorothy Spotswood early 2022.  However, it is expected that the opening of the new hospital to the public will take place later than originally planned. 

John Tait, 2DHB Chief Medical Officer and Foundation Trustee said, “The building was commissioned and designed in a pre-COVID world, and as such additional works to the building to maximise the opportunities presented by lessons learned from COVID and changes in clinical practice, have been planned. These works – particularly those in relation to air-handling – will enhance the hospital’s ability to care for children with RSV, COVID-19, or other respiratory-type illnesses and will make the new hospital more resilient for future outbreaks.” 

Bill Day said, “We are also very grateful to the many thousands of individual, community and corporate donors who have helped turn the dream of a new children’s hospital into a stunning reality.”