New Queenstown hospital set to open by end of year

This article was written by and published by the Otago Daily Times on 14 October 2021.

Queenstown's new independent hospital is scheduled to open by the end of this year, and is expected to start operating in January.

Southern Cross CLT Ltd chairman Terry Moore said despite the challenges caused by the various Covid lockdowns, the hospital, next to the Queenstown Country Club, bordering Shotover Country, was on track to be handed over from developer Queenstown Commercial before Christmas.

"We are extremely pleased with the progress made in all the circumstances.

"The hospital will be completed and fully equipped prior to the Christmas holidays and we will spend a few weeks over the holiday period ensuring everything is in place and working read to start operations in January."

A full-time hospital manager had already been employed, along with several other key staff who had been working with local advisor Andrew Blair ahead of services starting early next year. 

Mr Moore said there would be about 25 staff employed by the time the hospital opened, including a full-time anaesthetist who would also provide clinical governance.

The Southern District Health Board had contracted the new hospital — believed to cost about $25 million — to undertake various elective surgical procedures, including a regular weekly operating list for acute orthopaedic procedures which would save patients the need to travel to Invercargill for treatment.

The hospital had three operating theatres; however, only one would open initially to start on low-complexity day surgery.

A second theatre would come on stream in February when inpatient services would begin.

Over time, more specialist surgery was planned, including orthopaedics, ophthalmology, urology, gynaecology, plastic and general surgery.  

It would not be providing accident and emergency services, but would be funded by ACC to provide surgery for qualifying injured patients.

The single-storey building, designed by Warren and Mahoney, also 13 inpatient beds, each with an ensuite, and two larger suites, along with recovery rooms. 

‘‘We are really looking forward to opening the hospital. 

‘‘The Central Lakes region has waited a long time to secure local surgical services and we are now just a few months away,’’ Mr Moore said.

A public open day is planned next year to enable people to see behind the scenes.