A grateful patient has decided words are not enough in thanking hospital staff who cared for him when he had both his knees replaced.

Russell retiree, Uwe Schmutzler has donated $1000 to both Whangārei and Bay of Islands Hospitals as a thank you to staff after his surgery and post-operative care.

Staff at Bay of Islands Hospital's general ward decided to use the money for their monthly get-togethers. Staff at Whangārei Hospital's Ward One chose to buy a water cooler, sandwich maker and a jug, and use any money left over for an artwork for the ward.

Schmutzler contacted Northland Community Foundation to donate the money, wanting the excellent care he received to be acknowledged by a gift for the staff.

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"I hope that they will derive a bit of encouragement from this to keep up their good attitude and work that makes such a big difference to the majority of patients they need to look after,'' he said.

His generous offer came with two conditions: That staff decided how the money was spent, and he get receipts for his donation to claim the 33 per cent tax deduction. By donating $2000 to Health Fund PLUS through the Foundation, Schmutzler will receive a $660 tax credit.

Health Fund PLUS was set up by Northland DHB and Northland Community Foundation to provide a way for people to make donations or endowments. It enables staff to have some optional extras in equipment and services that would not be funded by the DHB.