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Waitaki Council to provide funding support for hospital

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Faced with funding challenges in an already tight funding environment and a number of equipment issues that had to be addressed urgently, the Board of Waitaki District Health Services Limited has had a series of meetings with its shareholder, the Waitaki District Council, to discuss a current funding shortfall.

During the latest meeting on the 3rd of December, the Council expressed its faith and support in the Board, acknowledging their efforts to deal with issues that had built up over a significant period of time and had come to a head recently. Council and the Board both agreed that there was a need to develop a plan to create a more sustainable match between the service the community wants and what can be delivered with the funding that is available. This plan will be a natural continuation of the work the Hospital was already undertaking, the current funding crunch having increased the urgency of developing this plan and engaging with the community about the potential options and impacts.

As an outcome of the meeting Council has agreed to provide loan funding of up to $700,000 to meet the immediate infrastructure-focused needs that will help the hospital to continue to make improvements in terms of safe and effective service delivery.

"The health sector is not short of financial challenges. We appreciate the interim support from our shareholder, the Waitaki District Council, as we explore strategies and develop a plan that will provide a finanically sustainable range of health services" WDHSL board Chair, Paul Allison said.

"This is likely to include the identification of options to generate new revenue streams as the long-term viability and sustainability of the Company is critical."

Council acknowledged the progress that had already been made in this area, progress that was highlighted in the recent clinical audit and in positive comments in a recent meeting with representatives of the Southern District Health Board. Even though progress has been made, all parties acknowledged that further changes and improvements are required to make the hospital sustainable. Council believes that providing this short term funding will create the time and capacity the Hospital needs to develop this plan and Council will work with the Board to engage with the public as to what role, if any, Council should have providing direct assistance to this critical community service.

Mayor for Waitaki, Gary Kircher said, "The funding challenges faced by the health sector are well known. This is particularly true for smaller rural centres where the challenges and costs of recruiting and retaining staff in highly competitive national and international markets is proving increasingly difficult. Sadly, there are very, very few rural hospitals which are making ends meet, and those which are, tend to be hospitals which have significant funding coming from sources other than their DHB." "We have also held a number of meetings with the Southern DHB to discuss the issues, and to continue pushing for more funding for Oamaru Hospital. We continue to advocate strongly for fair healthcare for the people of Waitaki, and will not cease our attempts to get that equity." The funding from Council would be made available immediately.

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