We are located on the lower-ground floor, Parkside West,
Christchurch Hospital, near the western lifts.
In 1973, Hyperbaric Medicine began in Christchurch with a trial of hyperbaric oxygen (HBOT) using a special hyperbaric single patient bed in head and neck cancers to enhance radiotherapy. It was also used to treat acute problems such as Decompression Sickness, Gas Gangrene and Carbon Monoxide Poisoning.
In the late 1970s, the local diving community raised the money for a dual-lock chamber which was donated to the North Canterbury Hospital Board. This was commissioned at The Princess Margaret Hospital in October 1979 where it remained operational until 1994 (see photo 1).
In late 1995, the chamber and associated plant were moved to Christchurch Hospital, allowing better access to core services such as radiology, intensive-care, etc. An emergency service and treatment of a few patients with problem wounds was provided with a minimal staffing establishment (see photo 2). This old chamber was de-commissioned in September 2000 and replaced with a new, rectangular, walk-in chamber which was officially opened on 24th November 2000 (see photo 3) (see photo 4). Permanent staff were appointed as well as the expansion of the facilities. This achieved the goal we set back in the early 1980s to establish the Christchurch unit as a major hyperbaric facility for New Zealand. The chamber is compressed with air and the patients breathe pure oxygen from a mask or head hood.
The Hyperbaric Medicine Unit now has permanent medical, nursing and technical staff and the unit has been expanded to provide improved patient care facilities. A full range of hyperbaric medical services is provided.
The unit operates 5 days per week and 24/7 cover for emergency treatments.
The Unit is medically staffed by a Medical Director and a team of physicians trained in Diving and Hyperbaric Medicine.
Trained Hyperbaric Technical Officers operate and maintain the chamber.
There is a Charge Nurse Manager and a pool of hyperbaric trained Nurses.