Let the community own their hospital

The Queenstown community wants to take over the ownership and management of the Lakes District Hospital.

The community model has worked well for Balclutha, Dunstan, Gore and Oamaru.

When what was then Healthcare Otago announced it was pulling out of rural services in the late 1990s, the Waitaki District Council stepped into the gap and formed a Local Authority Trading Enterprise (LATE) which became Waitaki District Health Services Ltd.

It built a community owned, publicly funded hospital which provides a wider range of services than would be available if it was under the ownership and control of the Otago District Health Board.

Balclutha, Dunstan and Gore hospitals are run by trusts rather than LATEs but they too are successful and all show that hospitals don’t have to be owned by the state to provide publicly funded services.

The Southland Times asks, whose hospital is it anyway?

It’s the communities and community owned and run models in neighbouring districts provide good examples for Queenstown Lakes to follow.

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