$1m hospital help rejected
The Government’s decision to reject a $1 million application to aid in the Maniototo Hospital rebuild is a kick in the guts, hospital bosses say.
Maniototo Health Services Ltd applied to Health Minister Jonathan Coleman for the funding as part of a $5.5m investment into upgrading services in the remote Central Otago region.
That was rejected last week, meaning residents will have to dig deeper into their pockets to fund the rebuild.
Maniototo Health Services Ltd (MHSL) manager Geoff Foster felt the minister had ‘‘no idea where the hell we are’’ with respect to Ranfurly’s distance from other health care facilities.
‘‘I don’t think there’s any argument from them that we need a new building, they just don’t want to give us the money. Their response is, ‘we’ve got a million people who want a million bucks’.’’
So far Maniototo Health Services had committed $2m in surplus money and $400,000 from community fundraising and donations to the rebuild.
It was hoped the Central Otago District Council would commit $2m through a targeted rate on Maniototo residents, and that would be decided after submissions were heard on May 23.
That left them $1m short.
‘‘It’s not a lot of money to the Government but to the com- munity here it’s massive,’’ MHSL chairman Stuart Paterson said. It would take pressure off.
The official line from the Government was that MHSL did not fall within the Southern District Health Board’s allocation of about $300m for the upgrade of services in Dunedin.
The health board supported the request. Commissioner Kathy Grant penned a letter saying MHSL ’’deserve to exist’’ simply due to its isolation, Paterson said.
‘‘You’re supposed to accumu- late funds over the years. We’ve only been in this building 20 years and our argument is we had to refurbish this building. We’ve done pretty well to put away $2m.’’
Former Maniototo farmer and politician Gerry Eckhoff said the Government decision was ‘‘appalling’’.
Maniototo Community Board member and councillor Stu Duncan said he thought the Government would have been more supportive.
Maniototo Health Services Ltd chairman Stuart Paterson and manager Geoff Foster are disappointed the government would not fund $1 million of the $5.5m needed for a hospital rebuild.