Opening of Starship's New Operating Rooms and Surgical Facilities

Starship patient Maia Haves cuts the ribbon to officially open the completed $9 million upgrade of operating rooms and surgical facilities at Starship Children's Hospital.


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Four year old Maia suffered a skull fracture after falling off her bike on an Easter school holiday outing with her family. A couple of weeks after the accident, she developed a cerebral fluid leak and was rushed to Starship. Maia has since had three operations to repair the damage, the last two of which took place in the new operating rooms, and she is now recovering well. 

Maia's mum, Justine Haves, said; "It was so reassuring to have our little girl being cared for with state of the art facilities and our own private space when we needed to have some difficult conversations with the clinicians. The exceptional environment, coupled with the expert Starship team, left us in no doubt that Maia was in the best hands."

The two year OR refurbishment project was undertaken to produce a child friendly environment, increase capacity and improve the quality of care delivered to children requiring surgery. This has included the addition of a brand new fully-equipped 60m2 operating room, plus refurbishment and upgrading of four existing operating rooms. This has resulted in installation of innovative new LED lighting, imaging and core surgical systems; and behind the scenes, improved air conditioning and storage areas.

An important feature has been the re-development of the pre-operative areas including a reception area and play area for children, as well as a parent waiting area. The space has been themed and decorated with child friendly artwork and the reception has been configured to provide private areas, so families and whanau of the approximately 9,000 children treated each year, can stay with them while they wait for their surgery. Computer tablets and television screens are also available for the children. The post anaesthetic care unit (PACU) has also been improved and expanded with the addition of two beds, nurses' station and bathroom and themed with child friendly artwork.  

The upgrade was paid for by the Auckland District Health Board and the Starship Foundation. The Foundation raised $3.1million through its generous donors - including Sir Graeme and Lady Ngaire Douglas, Mercury Energy Star Supporters Club, The Trusts Community Foundation, Barfoot & Thompson, Friends of Starship, Shepherd Charitable Trust, Caltex, Heather Forss, NZ Herald subscribers and readers through its 'Help our Kids' campaign, as well as many individual supporters around the country.

Niall Wilton, Clinical Director of Anaesthesia and Operating Rooms at Starship, said; "Starship's operating rooms were originally constructed when the hospital was built 23 years ago. Since then, the numbers and complexity of procedures undertaken on children have increased. The OR environment had not kept pace with these changes and needed an upgrade."

"What this new environment ensures is that for children like Maia and others who need treatment at Starship, we can continue our commitment to provide the best quality care to them and their families for the future."

Brad Clark, Starship Foundation Chief Executive, said; "We are incredibly grateful to the generous donors from across the country that have enabled this important facility upgrade.  The scope and nature of the changes will benefit the many thousands of patients and their families who will need treatment in Starship Operating Theatres each year. On behalf of all those Starship patients and families - thank you!"  

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