''Years of uncertainty'' for Dunedin's Ashburn Clinic ended
this week with a $1.1 million annual funding increase from
Ashburn Clinic board chairman Lindsay Brown, of Dunedin, said
the ''fantastic'' increase meant the private psychiatric
hospital would not have to seek short-term financial relief
from the Ministry of Health.
''It saves the clinic. I think financially it had become not
viable on the basis of the existing contract, plus other
patient numbers,'' Mr Brown said.
The clinic reached the point at which it could not carry out
further staff restructuring to deal with shortfalls. It had
been deferring some spending, although not in vital areas, he
said, declining to give examples of deferred spending.
''It has been years of uncertainty,'' he said.
Ashburn was unique in having a therapeutic approach to
''I think everyone wins out of this.
''It is a national facility . . . our patients come from all
over New Zealand.''
Mr Brown, who became chairman last September, ''could not
have asked for a better start'' to the role, but he would not
take the credit for sorting out the hospital's long-standing
He praised the Ministry of Health, whose senior personnel
were supportive, working through a comprehensive and
''appropriate'' process to approve extra funding.
Health Minister Tony Ryall, who announced the boost, was also
a supporter of Ashburn, Mr Brown said.
With the increase, the clinic would receive nearly $4 million
public health funding in 2014-15. In addition, the ministry
was working with ACC to draw up a new joint contract, which
could see bed numbers increase.
In a media release, Mr Ryall said the move put Ashburn on a
firm financial footing.
''This is great news for the 60 or so staff who work at
Ashburn Clinic, the clients and their families, as well as
the wider community.
''Ashburn Clinic has been providing mental health services,
including inpatient acute mental health beds, for over 130
''Following concerns about the sustainability of the service,
the Ministry of Health carried out a funding review of
Ashburn Clinic last year.
''As a result of this review, Ashburn Clinic is receiving
additional funding. The ministry is also working with ACC on
a new joint contract, which is expected to be in place by
midway through this year,'' Mr Ryall said.