Kelly Makiha is a senior reporter at the Rotorua Daily Post

Editorial: Reprieve means hope for hospital

Rotorua is famous for lots of things.

Its fabulous tourist facilities, Maori culture, sparkling lakes and unique smell to name a few.

But it's also famous for its healthcare services delivered from QE Health - a rehabilitation hospital on the shores of Lake Rotorua.

News in the past week that this facility is at risk of folding because of tough financial times is an unwelcomed shock.

Staff were told last week the hospital's multi-disciplinary intensive rehabilitation (MIR) unit could be forced to close on December 21, resulting in the loss of 30 jobs, because the hospital had been operating at a loss, which was no longer considered sustainable.

However, our local MP Todd McClay delivered the good news to the hospital on Monday that it had been given a reprieve and there would be no closure - not at least until the start of next year.

This is a unique facility - there is no other in New Zealand that has the same combination of rehabilitation services and of course the geothermal aspects.

Patients have told us at The Daily Post the hospital has enabled them to keep working and given them tools to live.

This hospital treats those for whom no other rehab has worked.

Full marks to Mr McClay, the Ministry of Health and the Lakes District Health Board for taking this seriously.

It would be a shame if it closed, not just because of the job losses but the long history it has in Rotorua which stretches over seven decades.

As general manager Peter Sharplin has pointed out, our country's aging population means this hospital is going to be needed more than ever in the future.

Hopefully word will spread that more patients are needed to keep this vital facility afloat.

While no one expects any facility to run at a loss, closing it just isn't an option.

What do you think?

Email, text DP then your message to 021 241 4568, or write to editor, PO Box 1442, Rotorua.

- Rotorua Daily Post

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