Donor backs charity hospital
A donor has offered a ‘‘significant amount of money’’ to help get a charity hospital started in Invercargill.
The donor went as far as telling Melissa Vining that she had ‘‘nothing to worry about’’ in trying to secure the $1.6 million capital costs needed.
Southland couple Blair and Melissa Vining are behind the project, which they hope will address the shortage of specialised medical care in Southland.
Blair has terminal bowel cancer. Since receiving his diagnosis in October last year, the pair have lobbied the Government for better healthcare and the setting up of a national cancer agency.
Following a meeting in Invercargill last night, Melissa said at least three tentative money offers were expressed, in addition to the large sum offered by a donor earlier in the day.
Melissa was visibly ecstatic after the meeting.
‘‘It’s hard not to get emotional. I just can’t believe it. Well I can – it’s Southland,’’ she said.
‘‘Southland is a great place to live and we want to have great healthcare for people no matter where they live. We haven’t got time for more government reviews and reports – we really need action.’’
The plan is to fit out a house to run as a clinic and offer colonoscopies. Fifty nurses, three surgeons, an anaesthetist and a radiologist, all willing to volunteer their time, attended the meeting, as did prospective donors.
A prospective budget handed out at the meeting showed $1.1m was required to buy a property and suitably alter the building.
An additional $470,000 is needed for equipment.
Professor Phil Bagshaw, who helped to establish the Canterbury Charity hospital in Christchurch, also attended the meeting. He has been giving the Vinings advice with their plans for a charity hospital.
After the meeting, Bagshaw said the charity hospital was a great opportunity to make a difference, quickly.
Endoscopic services in Southland were poor and replicating the success of his Christchurch facility was the goal of this project, he said.
Community support had been key to the Christchurch facility, he said. Roadside signs calling for tradies to donate their skills helped to get the facility built.
A board for the Southland charity hospital will be formed in coming weeks, and it will be the board members’ duty to determine the catchment area for the facility. The catchment area could extend all the way to Queenstown.
Blair has been admitted to Dunedin Hospital and was unable to attend the meeting.
Bagshaw co-authored a report that said the Southern District Health Board area has one of the highest rates of colorectal cancer in New Zealand and one of the lowest colonoscopy rates.
‘‘It’s hard not to get emotional. I just can’t believe it. Well I can – it’s Southland.’’ Melissa Vining
Melissa Vining with Professor Phil Bagshaw from the Canterbury Charity Hospital, at a meeting to discuss the proposed Southland charity hospital. ROBYN EDIE/STUFF