It's vital QE Health hospital's future is secured, according to those who have received "life-changing" treatment at the Rotorua facility.
Ten days ago, The Daily Post reported the not-for-profit hospital faced having to close its multidisciplinary intensive rehabilitation unit before Christmas, which would have seen 30 jobs lost and left hundreds of chronically ill patients unable to access the world renowned treatment.
A last-minute reprieve has delayed the decision until early 2013, with QE Health working closely with the Ministry of Health, Rotorua MP Todd McClay and the Lakes District Health Board to find a long-term solution to ensure 500 patients per year are referred to the unit - the minimum needed in order for the organisation to break even.
That news has been welcomed by QE Health Patients Association president Margaret Parker.
"The association is heartened to learn the ministry and local MPs are working with hospital management to ensure QE hospital's future," she said. "If it was closed it would be a huge loss."
Ms Parker has rheumatoid arthritis and knows first hand the benefits of the QE treatment for those with chronic conditions.
"The outcomes for people are so satisfying and life changing," she said. "There are many who have moved to Rotorua just because of the treatment."
Ms Parker said QE (formerly Queen Elizabeth Hospital) had had a "rocky history" but Rotorua people had always supported it.
"The people of Rotorua feel very kindly towards QE because they know its benefits."
Association vice-president Bill Hobman credits QE for allowing him to work for 34 years, despite being diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis at the age of 12.
He was at the hospital for treatment within months of his diagnosis and has been in and out all his life.
"Over the years, I have come to regard it as my home away from home," he said. "The treatment kept me going. I wouldn't have survived working without it. It allowed me to get back into the workforce and provide a living for me and my family."
He said thousands of Kiwi patients have been able to live productive, full lives because of the hospital, which takes a holistic approach to rehabilitation.
Mr Hobman said he remained concerned for the future of the hospital, its patients and staff.
"What happens if this still isn't decided come February," he said. "It's very hard on the staff. A lot of talent and experience and knowledge could disappear out of Rotorua and we may never get them back again."
Jacqui Aimers is the patient representative on the Queen Elizabeth Community Trust, which owns the the hospital.
Eight years ago she moved from Whakatane to Rotorua in a last-ditch attempt to get treatment for her debilitating arthritis, which had left her on the verge of becoming a sickness beneficiary. As a result of the treatment she has received since then, most recently during a two-week stint in June - she now works full time and lives independently. And that's the message she has for those who hold the hospital's fate in their hands.
"I'm thankful for Todd McClay's intervention and the support from city leaders ... and I'm glad the ministry recognise the massive positive impact it [the hospital] has."