Dunedin physio pool users will have to pay the cost if
they want to keep the pool open.
Southern District Health Board member Richard Thomson made
the comment yesterday when contacted about the announcement
the historic Otago Therapeutic Pool will close in December.
''I'd be very happy for the physio pool to stay open, but the
people who are using it would have to be funding it.''
He hoped the trust found an alternative financial structure
to enable the ''wonderful facility'' to survive.
The board was struggling to provide essential services and
could no longer support the physio pool.
Mr Thomson, who is also a Dunedin city councillor, said it
was ''highly unlikely'' the city would agree to step in and
support another pool.
The Otago Therapeutic Pool Trust, which operates the pool for
the public, hopes to persuade board members to overrule board
managers, who this week confirmed the closure.
It is also hoping the city council might be able to help.
Mr Thomson said while he would listen to the trust's case,
for him it was about priorities, and how the board could
justify the spending.
As well as funding a $100,000 annual operating shortfall, the
board says it is faced with a pool upgrade of up to $1
''I can't justify a million dollars of capital expenditure
when we have [hospital] buildings that leak and inadequate
facilities and we're constantly having to reprioritise
essential medical equipment.
''We've got immediate health benefit that we have to provide
which we're struggling to provide because of funding, and I
just can't justify that when there are alternative pools in
Asked if he agreed with critics that the closure was
shortsighted, Mr Thomson said that was an ''easy comment to
''Let me put it another way. Should we deprive other people
of medical interventions that they need now in order to
assist some people to achieve some health benefit at that
pool when there are other pools available?''
Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull said supporting the pool would be a
''big ask'' for the council, and he agreed with Mr Thomson it
However, it would be considered. Casual visits to the pool
The story in yesterday's ODT was shared hundreds of times on
social media, and drew a sharply critical reaction from
Some readers said the closure of the pool could lengthen
rehabilitation from injury, which would end up costing more
in future hospital admissions.
Dunedin National list MP Michael Woodhouse, when contacted
through his office in Wellington yesterday, refused to be
interviewed, directing questions to the health board.
Dunedin North Labour MP Dr David Clark said the closure
reflected continuing pressure on the board to cut costs.