'Wait and see' on funding

Maniototo Hospital PHOTO: SUPPLIED
Maniototo Hospital PHOTO: SUPPLIED
Possible changes to how health boards pay for hospitals are unlikely to affect plans for a proposed rebuild of Maniototo Hospital in Ranfurly, Maniototo Health Services Ltd (MHSL) manager Geoff Foster says.

The Ministry of Health is reviewing capital charges, which are interest payments on Crown finance provided for hospital builds.

In a paper released under the Official Information Act, officials blame the capital charges regime for delaying the Dunedin Hospital rebuild. The project could cost at least $300 million, and interest payments would start at about $40 million a year, diminishing over time.

Mr Foster said MHSL would not be able to pay interest charges on any Southern District Health Board (SDHB) funding and was not seeking a loan. Changes to capital charges would therefore not impact on the Maniototo rebuild.

However, the Maniototo company was still ``in discussions'' with the SDHB about other types of funding and in a ``wait and see'' phase, Mr Foster said.

He preferred not to comment further but said, in the meantime, other fundraising for the hospital rebuild was going well.

About $5 million is needed, and so far $2.3 million has been raised - $2 million from MHSL reserves and $300,000 of community funding, including a $50,000 grant from Perpetual Trustees.

Other grant applications were under way, including one for $2 million from the Central Otago District Council. Mr Foster said public consultation on that was expected to begin soon.

He praised the Maniototo community for its support of the rebuild so far, saying the money they had raised was a ``fantastic, tremendous, wonderful effort''.

MHSL had set a deadline of the end of the year for raising the $5 million, realising it was ``important to keep the momentum up'', Mr Foster said.

If the money was raised, it was hoped the rebuild - which involves building a new hospital wing and upgrading the rest-home wing - would start early next year, he said.



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