Construction of the new rectangular hyperbaric chamber due to replace the old chamber at Christchurch Hospital has been completed. Painting and other finishing work is also nearly done and the chamber will be shipped to Lyttelton in September. The chamber has a four atmosphere pressure capability allowing the use of mixed gas therapy such as heliox mixtures for severe decompression illness.
Plans for the necessary building work associated with the chamberâs installation have had to be delayed slightly. This means that the old chamber will now be decommissioned on September 22nd. It is expected that the new chamber will be operational for emergencies about four weeks later. In the intervening period all divers requiring emergency hyperbaric treatment for decompression illness will be referred to the Slark Hyperbaric Medicine Unit at the RNZ Naval Hospital at Devonport. The DES phone number is 0-9-445 8454 (toll free). A consultative medical phone service will still be available in Christchurch for emergencies through Christchurch Hospital switchboard, 0-3-364 0640.