A new space for patients undergoing chemotherapy and other infusion treatments has opened in Taupō Hospital.
The room, which was officially opened on February 24, has been named Te Oranga Wairua. It has four chairs and one bed and is the first dedicated space for these patients.
Taupō has offered chemotherapy and infusion treatments for at least two decades, but, until now, it has been among the day stay patients and other areas of the hospital.
"The opening of Te Oranga Wairua is another important step in providing closer to home care for our patients and whānau," says Lakes District Health Board medical services service manager Jo-Anne Deane.
"The toll on patients and whānau commuting to Rotorua Hospital is significant and I am delighted that I have been part of the team and the accomplishment."
The room was officially opened by Lakes DHB chief executive Nick Saville-Wood and Ngāti Tūwharetoa kaumatua Chulla Wall.
Around 30 people were at the opening, including Taupō Hospital staff and whānau, as well as Rotorua Hospital-based staff.
"Our chemotherapy unit in Taupō has used a number of spaces in Taupō Hospital over the years," says Mr Saville-Wood.
"It became very apparent we needed to find a permanent site as we could no longer beg, steal and borrow from other services.
"Our chemotherapy team have been patient and incredibly flexible over the years. They are here for our tangata whaiora and support them through the difficult treatment process."
He says having a dedicated space has a flow-on effect for the operating theatre in Taupō, as this means the day stay area can be kept available for surgical patients and more patients will be able to be treated.
Mr Saville-Wood thanked the hospital's Occupational Therapy department which he said had agreed to move to another area of the hospital to allow Te Oranga Wairua to be developed, as well as the staff who had tirelessly pursued the project and the hospital's facilities staff who had made all the changes that were needed.
"We are very proud of Taupō Hospital and its staff and the developments over the last five years."
Almost all chemotherapy and infusion patients from the Taupō district are treated at Taupō Hospital. Some treatments take as little as 15 minutes and others can be up to six hours.
Infusion therapy includes blood transfusions, iron infusions and pain management.
Patients come from within the public and private health system.