Donor backs char­ity hos­pi­tal

The Southland Times - - Front Page - Blair Jack­son blair.jack­[email protected]

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

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