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Taihape and Wellbeing Development - September Update

Mokai Patea Services stays committed and is working well alongside WRHN and the Otaihape Health Trust to progress the Taihape Health & Wellbeing Development.

Actions currently being worked on from a Mokai Patea Management point of view are submitting internal financial budgets to their Governance that clearly reports any financial implications that will affect the organisation with this move. Once this has been completed a letter confirming Mokai Patea’s ongoing commitment to this project will contribute to allaying potential fears or worries that the Otaihape Health Trust may have. Tracy Hiroa stated “Mokai Patea Governors whole heartedly see the benefits across the full spectrum of health and recognise the benefit this will bring to our whole community.”

Marian Cleaver, Chairperson OTHT, has hosted St John leaders to a site visit of the Taihape Hospital Campus this month. Marian advises that “while the campus project is not financially dependant on St Johns considering the site as a possible new option for their new build ambulance Station, we would be very happy to have them”. The opportunity to create an integrated range of health and social services all working from one site is an exciting proposition, so receiving a letter from WRHN / THL that offered a level of financial comfort for the Trust was well received by the Trustees. OTHT will be the holder of the lease for the entire WDHB hospital campus and therefore it was important to know that costs that they would be liable for, in the first years of establishment would be covered by permanent tenants.

The facility that Taihape Health Ltd operates their services from currently will be vacated once the refurbishment is completed. This building is owned by OTHT Trust. Rangitikei Council Manager is working with various people in the Rangitikei to explore other options for this building such as supported housing. While a long way off creating a clear purpose, it is pleasing to see important conversations are starting to emerge on what is the housing needs for the district that could be met through thinking about what is needed and examining the spaces we already have.

Conversations with WDHB have progressed to the point where WDHB Corporate General Manager has committed to drawing up a lease agreement with OTHT over this next month. This has enabled WRHN to start procurement process for an Architect and experts to help with the redesign. While it is accepted that the design will need to fit within the current footprint, we need to make it effective for delivering clinical and Whānau Ora Services and be efficient in the spaces it does use so other interested parties have space available to deliver their services. The more providers in the facility and on the campus the more financially viable the site will be for now and into the future.

In October the three parties will contact all existing providers that deliver a service from the current Rural Health Centre or THL site and they will be invited to respond to an Expression of Interest so that we are clear on who the stakeholders are that we will need to engage with as design conversations commence. Our shared vision is to build a culture of working together and delivering services to our population as a collective and not as individual providers working on their own.

While the centre will be a vibrant collection of providers working together, Jude MacDonald stressed that ‘the facility will not have hospital inpatient beds or Aged Residential Care beds. The scale of this rural model is not large enough to sustain beds and we want this venture to thrive and not be weighed down by financial risk.’ While this may be disappointing for the community to hear, the three parties are confident that the model of care will make up for the lack of beds.

Feedback from the community who are visiting the Rural Health Centre for their COVID 19 vaccinations are offering pleasing feedback on how thrilled they are that this facility will once again be the thriving busy health and wellness hub for the Taihape community.

This collaborative Media Release was agreed by:

- Tracy Hiroa, GM Mokai Patea Services

- Marian Cleaver, Chair Otaihape Health Trust

- Jude MacDonald, CE Whanganui Regional Health Network


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