Ashburn Clinic deputy medical director Dr Stephanie du
Fresne and business manager Lindsay Smith say changes are
needed to make Ashburn viable. Photo by Craig Baxter.
Dunedin's Ashburn Clinic is losing nearly 10 full-time
equivalent staff, combining two inpatient wards and mothballing
a hostel to make up a $900,000 funding shortfall.
Business manager Lindsay Smith said yesterday the clinic had
lost ACC referrals for sexual abuse sufferers, a Ministry of
Health eating disorder contract, and had fewer DHB referrals
The hospital was staffed for 45 to 50 patients, but needed to
provide for 30 to 35.
Two inpatient wards - Gwen Wilson and Frank Hay - would
combine as a single ward.
Alexander House, a residential building catering for nine
self-sufficient inpatients, would be mothballed, with its
inhabitants moving to the former Frank Hay ward.
Closing the building would save about $100,000 annually on
The clinic was choosing to mothball the hostel, rather than
the extra ward, because it was more expensive to heat.
Mr Smith's own position would halve, in a voluntary move,
which would allow him to stand in October's elections as a
city councillor, he said.
Kitchen staff would reduce by one full-time equivalent (FTE),
nurses 5.5 FTE, psychiatric staff 0.7 FTE, psychotherapy 1
FTE and office staff 1 FTE.
All up, 9.7 FTE would go, although it was not possible to say
yet how many actual staff members that entailed.
Details would be worked through in the next two to three
It was important the clinic acted before the situation
Ashburn did not have a shortfall for the 2009-10 financial
During the past five years, ACC funding for sexual-abuse
inpatients dropped from $2 million to $900,000 in the 2009-10
Referrals for the service were now non-existent.
ACC stopped using the contract between six and nine months
The clinic lost a $500,000 five-bed eating-disorder contract
with the Ministry of Health, effective from the end of this
DHB referrals had dropped too, and private paying patients
were opting for shorter stays.
The clinic raised its fees last December, had become more
proactive in gaining new contracts and introducing new
programmes, and had cut costs.
Deputy medical director Dr Stephanie du Fresne said losing
staff - Ashburn's "treasure" - had been distressing as the
clinic enjoyed a stable workforce with extremely low staff
Dr du Fresne said staff and patients had worked together to
find creative ways to save money, reflecting Ashburn's
philosophy as a "therapeutic community" empowering patients.
ACC claims management general manager Denise Cosgrove,
responding by email, said the contract with Ashburn for
intensive residential rehabilitation remained, but long-term
treatment was not always the most appropriate for sexual
Funding to Ashburn had been dropping since 2002-03, when it
was about $2 million a year, she said.