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'Shovel-ready' inspection of new Central Lakes hospital

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

‘Shovel-ready’ was key to inspecting progress at the new surgical hospital under construction on land adjoining Queenstown Country Club off the Frankton - Ladies Mile Highway. From left, Queenstown Lakes District Mayor Jim Boult joined Chris Fleming CEO of the Southern DHB (SDHB), Central Lakes Trust (CLT) CEO, Susan Finlay, and Terry Moore CEO of the Southern Cross Health Trust (SCHT) to view progress made on the joint venture between Southern Cross Hospital Trust and Central Lakes Trust, to invest in a much-awaited new surgical hospital for the region.

With stage one foundations poured, Mayor Jim Boult congratulated Queenstown Commercial Limited and the two charitable trusts on their work to date.

"It’s encouraging to see the progress made on this venture at a time when we’re all after some good news," he says.

"We have always really liked the idea of a hospital being built here, but we want to make sure that ordinary folk in the district can also come use it, so this is a bit of a marriage made in heaven; a really good outcome, well done everybody."

CLT CEO, Susan Finlay had nothing but praise for the partnership approach taken to date.

"It may have taken a long time to get to this point, but it has been a worthy journey. A strong partnership has resulted between CLT and Southern Cross Hospitals, and in turn the SDHB." "It is a privilege to be in a joint venture with Southern Cross Hospitals, they are experts in their service delivery model. This will be complimentary to the SDHB, a partnership critical to ensuring the public/private benefit from the hospital and providing real tangible results for our wider Central Lakes community."

"It’s the core of why we invested, this puts a certain amount of the trust’s portfolio in areas that can have strong reward for our community; offering less travel, and less family inconvenience. While we have all been feeling the impact of COVID-19 right now, this facility can potentially ease the burden in times ahead," she says. Terry Moore, CEO, Southern Cross Hospitals, echoed similar sentiments; "It’s a huge milestone. We identified Queenstown /Central Lakes as a high growth area that needed private health care at least a decade ago, today’s the first real opportunity to see it’s underway, he said.

"But just as important for us is an opportunity to build an integrated health centre that involves not just health insurance, but ACC customers, DHB customers - in fact the whole community. Yes, it is a new facility owned by two charitable entities, but it is about the people and the doctors it will attract, and the partnership with the DHB that will make it quite unique."

"This is a facility that while at its core is elective surgery, over time there is potentially a whole range of health services that we could offer here. No question, this is the start of a much wider set of health services for the entire region, not only for Queenstown Lakes, but for Central Otago."

Chris Fleming, CEO, Southern District Health Board, concurs we do not want a hospital exclusively for those who can afford to pay, or ACC. "Those that can pay will pay, but we need to make it available for others as well to avoid the need for as many people required to leave the district to access lower risk and day surgical activity, and make sure we stick to that." "The Southern District Health Board is excited about the opportunity to add to our existing theatre services capacity for elective surgery, allowing us to provide more convenient services to our Queenstown and Central Lakes population. We appreciate the support of Central Lakes Trust in helping make this a reality."

The hospital which is expected to be completed in late 2021 is on target despite any delays due to the COVID-19 lockdown. It has brought new construction jobs with 20 + people working on the construction at any given time, and once complete will bring additional jobs to the region.

The hospital site is being developed by Queenstown Commercial Limited who will lease the facility to the Joint Venture. Stage one, which consists of the ward bedrooms is well underway with foundations laid, while stage two and three have services in and trenching dug, with a hope to get the foundations poured before the cold weather sets in. Once the doors open, Southern Cross Hospitals will manage the facility with CLT as an investment partner.

The new hospital will complement the existing Queenstown Lakes Hospital.

A range of elective surgical procedures will be undertaken at the new hospital. These will include Endoscopy, General Surgery, Gynaecology, Dental, Orthopaedic, Urology, Plastic Surgery, and Ear, Nose and Throat Surgery (ENT). Currently, patients from Central Lakes Region must travel to either Dunedin or Invercargill for these procedures.

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