Bigger rooms for hospital but line of funding closes

Maniototo Health Services Ltd chairman Stuart Patterson (left) and manager Geoff Foster outside...
Maniototo Health Services Ltd chairman Stuart Patterson (left) and manager Geoff Foster outside the hospital. Photo: Pam Jones.
Maniototo Hospital leaders have increased the scope of the hospital rebuild from $5.5 million to $6 million to allow larger bedrooms to be built in the facility.

Maniototo Health Services Ltd (MHSL) chairman Stuart Paterson said the decision was made to ensure the best possible facility was built.

"We want to make sure it’s done right while we’ve got the chance."

About $5 million has been raised for the project so far and hospital leaders were overwhelmed by the generosity of the Maniototo community and grateful to the Maniototo Community Board  and Central Otago District Council for its support of the project, Mr Paterson said.

The  community board will contribute $2million to the rebuild, to be either paid back by Maniototo ratepayers or funded through Maniototo land sales.

Another $1 million has come from grants and Maniototo fundraising, and MHSL will contribute $2 million of reserves to the rebuild.

Mr Paterson said MHSL could borrow money to raise the final money for the rebuild if needed.

One potential avenue of funding had recently been closed, he said.

MHSL had asked the Central Lakes Trust if it would contribute towards the project, as significant numbers of people from within the  trust catchment used the Maniototo Hospital’s services.

Maniototo Hospital manager Geoff Foster said in June that figures for non-acute patients at Maniototo Hospital from October 2012 to May 2017 showed 4344 bed nights for people from Alexandra, Poolburn, St Bathans, Ophir, Omakau, Queenstown and Wanaka. This represented about 12% of total non-acute bed nights.

However, Mr Paterson said  lakes trust  staff had told hospital leaders funding outside of the  trust’s catchment could not legally be made.

When contacted by the Otago Daily Times,  trust chairman Tony Hill confirmed the decision and said a legal opinion had been sought.

Trustees had wanted to contribute money and tried hard to find a way to do so, but were not permitted to do so according to the trust’s deed, Mr Hill said.

"It [the rebuild] touched our heart and it’s important.  However, it’s [Maniototo Hospital] a structure outside of our catchment, and we’re bound by that [trust deed]."

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