$1m hospi­tal help re­jected

Central Otago Mirror - - FRONT PAGE - RHYS CHAM­BER­LAIN

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.

RHYS CHAM­BER­LAIN

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.

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