Middlemore Hospital: A timeline of building issues

Middlemore Hospital is blighted by rot and mould, earthquake weaknesses and asbestos that will cost hundreds of millions of dollars to fix.

Middlemore hospital Photo: Google Maps

Yet the Treasury has been rating Counties Manukau District Health Board that runs Middlemore, as among the best DHBs since 2015.

The following timeline is based on Counties Manukau DHB‘s statements and Official Information Act responses to date:

1999-2001 – Four hospital buildings constructed for Counties Manukau DHB by Hawkins, and a fifth – the mental health unit – is built around this time; all five will shortly be leaking badly

Feb 2001 – DHB chief executive David Clarke is quoted in NZ Herald as not sitting around waiting for government funding for KidzFirst hospital

2006 – Further work on Scott building

2009-2013 – Treasury 2014 report for these years rates Counties Manukau as good for financial management, but with medical care problems

2012 – Large exterior cladding panel falls off Scott building outside dialysis unit

2012 – Checks on all Scott‘s panels identify widespread leaks; Manukau Superclinic leaks also found (outside 10-year limitation to sue the builder)

2012 – DHB lodges a High Court claim against Hawkins over the Scott building

2012-onwards – Some repairs undertaken at buildings but not comprehensive

2013 – Leaks identified at Kidzfirst children‘s hospital

2014 – Leaks identified at McIndoe building

Early 2015 – Building Disputes Tribunal finds regarding Scott building that the principal problem was Hawkins failure to fix the cladding properly

Early 2015 onwards – Building reports, risk registers and legal opinions go to board and chief executive about leaks. DHB refuses to release these board minutes to RNZ in March 2018

2016 – Demolition begins of leaking mental health unit

2016 – Leaking issues outlined to Ministry of Health, according to DHB

June 2016 – Counties Manukau scores highly across Treasury rankings, including being the only DHB to be given a perfect score across all key performance indicators

Early 2017 – DHB and Hawkins reach out-of-court cash settlement on Scott building claim; terms and amount are confidential but RNZ understands it is for $3 million

Feb 2017 – Treasury rates Counties Manukau among top half of DHBs for repairs and maintenance

April 2017 – Hawkins bought by Australian company Downer

May 2017 – DHB chair Lester Levy warns of a financial crisis ahead; a planned $8 million extension of Ko Awatea innovation hub is put under review

May 2017 – DHB‘s chief executive of 11 years, Geraint Martin, leaves

Mid-2017 – DHB commissions first overall expert appraisal of buildings

June 2017 – Middlemore‘s Ko Awatea innovation hub (it has no medical services) cancels two big conferences to save money

Nov 2017 – Independent surveyor Alexander and Co gives DHB report outlining serious extent of building failings

Feb 28, 2018 – Board agrees to turn fifth floor of Galbraith building into a ward to cope with winter rush, despite quake-prone status and asbestos

Photo: Supplied

March 8 – Internal DHB risk report says “we have an ageing building stock that has not been adequately maintained and is no longer fit for purpose”; it warns that repairs may interrupt essential services

March 12- RNZ reports Counties Manukau DHB‘s financial management between 2013-16 is being reviewed

March 20 (approx) – Government approves $11.5 million extra towards $27.5 million repairs at Scott building

March 22 – RNZ reports based on OIA that four hospital buildings are full of rot and mould. Health Minister David Clark says he knew about only one, the Scott

March 22 – DHB‘s five-year repair plan to 2022 shows only the design work on Scott has begun

March 23 – Former Health Minister Jonathan Coleman tells RNZ says he was not briefed about extent of decay; former DHB chair (2013-16) Lee Mathias says “most people in Wellington knew”

March 24 – DHB says it is not monitoring walls for toxic mould seeping into rooms, or putting up barriers in case cladding falls, despite clear recommendations to do this

Photo: Supplied

March 27 – DHB says it may be easier to demolish than fix its buildings; tells RNZ it did not do repairs because Minister Coleman wanted it to stay in surplus

March 28 – DHB confirms RNZ report of sewage leaks into walls of Scott building

Early April – Draft budget obtained by RNZ includes $8.6 million extension of Ko Awatea in 2017-18 despite 2017 review and cladding overhaul not having begun

April 3 – DHB confirms RNZ report of major power supply failures at Middlemore and Superclinic since 2017

April 3 – National Party leader Simon Bridges says previous Government not responsible for Middlemore woes

April 4 – RNZ reports a confidential DHB map showing seven buildings red-zoned for having multiple leaking, asbestos and seismic issues, including Superclinic. Scott, McIndoe and Kidzfirst rate as only orange-zoned or under despite their problems