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Queen Mary Hospital Land Sale By Cdhb Opposed

Queen Mary Hospital Land Sale By Cdhb Opposed

“NUPE is totally opposed to the sale of the Queen Mary land and is questioning whether the CDHB is indirectly responsible for the collapse of the services of the Hanmer Clinics last week,” said Nadine Marshall, Secretary of the National Union of Public Employees (NUPE) today. She was releasing a submission the Union hopes to talk to at the CDHB meeting in Hanmer tomorrow evening. (Hanmer Golf Club 7pm)

“Our submission (attached) shows how the CDHB had been charging the Hanmer Clinics $270,000 per annum in rent for the land while paying peppercorn rates to the local Council. The evidence is that the Board recently further tried to increase that to $400,000,” said Nadine Marshall. “This increase was with a body (Hanmer Clinics) that was clearly struggling to survive.”

“A further concern has been the ‘coincidence’ of the proposal to sell the land along with the decision to support a Ngai Tahu residential addiction centre which would duplicate the former Taha Maori programme at Queen Mary,” said Nadine Marshall.

“NUPE wants our questions answered about whether the Board has had an agenda of deliberately squeezing the life out of the current provider. NUPE also hopes the Board will genuinely listen to those submitting tomorrow and not only retain the site but reintroduce a publicly funded residential addiction service on the Queen Mary site,” said Nadine Marshall. For more information contact: Nadine Marshall NUPE Secretary on (021) 689 733 Or (03) 377 3582
CDHB View outlined in their submission document The sale of the land is not about the provision of the residential addictions service which went from public to private ownership in 1997. This is not the core business of the CDHB (i.e. the CDHB is not in business of being a landlord The land is a cost to the CDHB The CDHB has had no health and disability interest in land since 1997. The CDHB want access to the substantial proceeds of the sale to be utilised for health and disability services. Money will be used for improvements and extension to publicly owned facilities for health purposes.

NUPE Comments Former Queen Mary Hospital has had a high success rate for service of its type dealing with moderate to severe addictions for people who are failing in the community outpatient model due to their environment and social economic status, with cycles of poverty, abuse and neglect. However the continuation of such a service had to rely on private fee paying clients, which sets up a two tiered health system with access only for the wealthy and not those most in need due to their social and economic circumstances. The recent closure announcement makes it clear this is a flawed model in that if there is one thing alcoholics and drug addicts do not have, it is money for a user pays service. Park like surroundings of QMH site are unique within NZ providing safe and anonymous place for people to rest and heal. Just because QM site is unique and does not fit the current model of regionally based population based funding, the CDHB has no right to sell off land that was gifted and is currently a reserve. Despite what the book entries may say, the proceeds of any sale will not directly go towards health and disability services as promised but will in fact be used to pay off the current $11 million deficit which this CDHB has committed to the Minister of Health to reduce to zero in 2004 ($30m over three years). There is little cost to the CDHB in owning the land who have in fact been profiting from the lease by round $270K per annum, while paying only peppercorn rates to the Hurunui District Council for sewerage on the houses, equating to around $67 per annum per house. The CDHB does not maintain any of the buildings or the site, the obligation falls onto the leasee which is written into their lease agreement with the CDHB. NUPE finds it ironic that the CDHB is now proposing to sell the Queen Mary Hospital site after attempting to increase the lease from $270K to $400K in 2002, which subsequently put Hanmer Clinic and CDHB into dispute regarding the rental. It is our understanding that the clinic indicated they could not afford to pay for the whole site but that they did not wish to see it sold off and broken up. Their inability to pay such a high lease we believe is partly responsible for the ending of Hanmer Clinics services this week due to the fact the Ministry will cease any public funding of the service now instead of in December 2004. Further it is disturbing that the CDHB attempted to use the lease arrangement with Hanmer Clinic to gain more money from the Ministry of Health “via the back door”, by charging an increased rental that they know is funded by the Ministry of Health until December 2004. Such actions as above seemed deliberate in undermining the ability of the residential service to continue past the end of the transitional funding arrangements with the Ministry and in our view are also partly responsible for the early collapse of the former Queen Mary services. This has been reinforced by the coincidence of the closure of the Taha Maori residential programme at the former Queen Mary and the introduction of the Ngai Tahu residential programme. Such programmes have a long lead time and it is barely credible to say there is no link between the two as the CDHB has claimed CDHB is also ignoring the expert opinion of Dr Robert Crawford former Medical Superintendent of the Queen Mary Hospital who is opposed to the sale and the short-sightedness of current policy makers in relation to the future health and wellbeing of not only Canterbury but all of NZ. The changes in the health system are part of the current health policy and there is no robust or sound reason why the public health system should divest itself of a valuable and unique asset which has potential to be of enormous benefit to public health system in the future should policy shift to revalue rehabilitation and residential (inpatient) addictions services.

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