Health centre at ‘crunch point’
Lawrence Rural Health Centre is reaching a ‘‘crunch point’’ regarding its future operation, Lawrence Tuapeka Community Board chairman Garry McCorkindale says.
The future of rural health services was up for discussion at a recent community board meeting, where Clutha-Southland MP Hamish Walker was invited to hear members’ concerns about the provision for regional health funding.
The big Dunedin Hospital rebuild, expected to cost up to $1.4 billion, raised concerns for smalltown health services at Lawrence.
It highlighted ongoing issues in keeping the town’s own medical centre and rest home open, McCorkindale said.
The Lawrence Rural Health Centre was established about 23 years ago when the town bought the defunct hospital building from the government for $1, and established the first integrated health centre in New Zealand.
It is operated by the Tuapeka Community Health Company Limited and governed by a board of directors.
The service provides rest home level care for up to five residents and medical care in two short-stay beds.
Times had changed, and with just the five beds, the hospital was no longer cost McCorkindale said.
‘‘A new model needs to be found ... We’re reaching a crunch point now.’’
After the meeting, he said the health company board was fundraising and looking at its future options. effective,
The town did not expect to be subsidised, and wanted to run a sustainable operation, he said.
‘‘The ability to keep elderly in the town is also critical.’’
Loss of core services in Lawrence, such as a resident doctor, was of concern because it was ‘‘another service we lose’’, community board member and Clutha District councillor Geoff Blackmore said.