Charity Hospital viable

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    AWS Legal representative Chris Menzies (left), Professor Phil Bagshaw, Melissa Vining and Findex Invercargill's managing partner Neil McAra. Photo: Laura Smith

    INTERESTED representatives and individuals met last week in Invercargill to discuss the feasibility of a Southland charity hospital.

    Terminal cancer patient and cancer care campaigner Blair Vining and his wife Melissa initiated the attempt to create a community hospital to improve cancer sufferers’ chances of survival.

    Initially, the hospital service would provide colonoscopies to Southland patients left on waiting lists, and would potentially expand to include diagnosis and treatment for other conditions.

    The meeting consisted of a presentation, including a brief on how a similar service in Christchurch operated, which was followed by a question and answer session.

    Mrs Vining said she was overwhelmed by the generosity shown at the meeting.

    “We have had some very big, tentative offers from three major funders and an earlier offer of a significant amount of money.

    “Most overwhelming is the number of nurses who turned up.”

    She said 50 nurses had voiced their interest, as well as three surgeons, an anaesthetist and a radiologist.

    Operating costs would vary from year to year, she said, and a presentation stated financing the charity hospital could sit around $250,000 to $300,000 per year for a small volunteer unit with minimum paid staff running costs.

    The clinic would be planned around volunteers, Mrs Vining said.

    Findex Invercargill managing partner Neil McAra was helping with financial aspects and said with the support voiced at the meeting, financing the hospital seemed feasible. “I know these people in this room well, so I know when they say something they will follow through.”

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