Heather du Plessis-Allan on mouldy hospitals

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The New Zealand Nurses Organisation (NZNO) is concerned about the air quality at the mouldy buildings in Counties Manukau District Health Board - which could become airborne as walls are "regularly damaged". The Counties-Manukau DHB has been dealing with numerous leaky building problems since 2012, including issues at Middlemore Hospital. NZNO chief executive Memo Musa says they're not convinced the mould will remain contained within the walls and is disappointed at the lack of money to address maintenance issues. "Our delegates have reported that walls are regularly damaged and simply patched over, and we believe there is a possibility that fungal spores are being released," he said. Meanwhile, Middlemore's maternity ward is being monitored in case asbestos used in its construction is disturbed and it meets 20-25 per cent of the quake code. The government recently approved extra funding of $11.5 million to repair the hospital's rotting timber, leaks and mould - bringing the total cost of the project to $27.5m. "We are now seeing the costs of underfunding of health. There has been far too much focus on balancing DHB books at the cost of maintaining and improving core hospital infrastructure," Musa said. "The potential on-going health and safety risks must be attended to with some urgency." - NZ Newswire FOR HEATHER DU PLESSIS-ALLAN'S TAKE ON THIS, LISTEN ABOVE

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