Mercy celebrates opening of Callaghan Ward


Today Mercy celebrates both its 85th anniversary of service and the opening of Callaghan Ward, an inpatient ward located on the second floor.

On 16 July 1936 the Sisters of Mercy admitted the first patient to their then 23-bed Mater Misericordiae Hospital at 19 Royal Terrace. This facility was rapidly outgrown and in 1969 Mater (later Mercy) Hospital relocated to its current site in Newington Avenue, to a brand new 64-bed hospital that cost $1 million to construct.

A continued shift in patient numbers saw Coolock day surgery unit commissioned in 2008 to accommodate the growing number of day surgery procedures being undertaken. At the same time the first floor McAuley Ward was extended and renovated to provide more single inpatient rooms, in line with patient preferences. The second floor ward was closed to medical patients and rooms were refitted to accommodate staff offices.

Currently Mercy can accommodate 41 overnight patients on McAuley Ward and a further 30 patients in day stay beds across the campus. Callaghan Ward will open in stages, initially as a Tuesday to Friday ward, with the first patients to be admitted following Ministry of Health certification. Construction will continue over the next few months and all 22 new beds will be commissioned by November 2021.

The opening of the Callaghan Ward is a significant step in Mercy's strategic plan, ensuring our ability to meet the future health needs of the Otago and Southland communities. The next stage of campus development will involve relocation of the intensive care unit from the ground floor to the first floor. McAuley Ward will lose five beds at that point to make way for the new thee bed ICU. In addition, a seventh operating theatre will be accommodated.

Callaghan Ward was designed by McCoy Wixon Architects and construction was managed by Naylor Love. 

William and Catherine Callaghan
The Callaghan Ward is named after William and Catherine Callaghan who took in the young Catherine McAuley (Sisters of Mercy’s foundress) in 1803 after her parents died. Catherine lived with the couple for 20 years and upon William’s death in 1822 she was the sole residuary legatee of the Callaghan estate and much of their savings. This inheritance allowed Catherine to fulfil her dream of opening ‘Baggot Street,’ Dublin, a house to serve poor women and children in 1824. Catherine went on to found the Sisters of Mercy in 1831.

Mercy Hospital capacity
McAuley Ward: 41 (will reduce to 36 with the relocation of ICU)
Callaghan Ward: 22
Coolock Ward: 18
Manaaki: 6
Operating theatres:
6 at Mercy Hospital (seventh theatre to be added in 2022)
2 at Manaaki

Callaghan Ward construction facts and figures

- Maximum number of tradespersons onsite was 64, on 11 March 2021.

- 14,400 metres of general and mechanical electrical cable installed.

- 31 metre clear span tent used for two stage reroof.

- Highly efficient chilled beam heating and cooling system installed – 30% more efficient than traditional air-conditioning.

- 57 new double glazed windows installed.

- 6 old unrestrained copper tanks (including three 5,000 litre tanks) removed from roof space to improve seismic performance and safety.

- Total development budget in excess of $10 million. 

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