Quest for new Maniototo health facility begins

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The Maniototo community is predicted to launch into action to fundraise towards a new health facility, following the announcement a new $5million facility is proposed.

Maniototo Health Services Ltd (MHSL) announced the development this week, but said significant funding was still needed.

A public meeting would be held on October 11 and Maniototo residents were encouraged to attend to find out about the proposal, MHSL manager Geoff Foster said.

He expected the “hard-working, generous” Maniototo community would then begin fundraising in earnest, and hoped others from outside the community would consider helping, too.

Much of MHSL’s reserves would be put towards the development, in which a new hospital and rest-home wing would be built. The existing rest-home area would be converted to house the GP practice and other community and consulting rooms. It was uncertain what would happen to the existing hospital wing; the community would be asked for ideas about that, Mr Foster said.

The Southern District Health Board had told MHSL in 2012 there was no health board funding available for a new hospital, and although MHSL had not asked again recently, it was unlikely any health board funding would be available, Mr Foster said.

However, it was hoped community trusts and other organisations might be able to help, and MHSL was confident of raising the required funds, he said.

The new building has been designed by Baker Garden, of Dunedin, and will have 29 multi-purpose beds for either hospital, acute or rest-home use. At present the hospital has 15 beds and the rest-home, The Chalet, has 16 beds.

The development of a combined rest-home-hospital was considered the best option, following investigation of separate upgrades of just the hospital or rest-home, Mr Foster said.

The transition to the new facility would be smooth, as the new building would be built on land unoccupied at present.

Mr Foster said it was “exciting” being able to move to the next stage, as it was important to safeguard the medical facility for the Maniototo community.

“It’s essential to provide a health service to a remote, isolated area to allow people to remain in the community.”

The public meeting about the proposal will be held in the Ranfurly Town Hall at 8pm on October 11.