Central Lakes Hospital
Fraser Sanderson (Sanderson Group Chair), Susan Finlay (CEO of CLT), Andrew Blair (Blair Consulting) Chris Flemming (CEO of SDHB) and Terry Moore (Southern Cross Healthcare) outside the new Southern Cross Central Lakes Hospital. Photo Tim Hawkins

The Central Lakes region’s new independent hospital was officially opened last Friday, offering the region more convenient access to elective surgical services.

The hospital, which includes three operating theatres and 13 private inpatient rooms, is a fifty-fifty joint venture between Southern Cross Healthcare (SCHL) and Central Lakes Trust (CLT). Constructed by Queenstown Commercial Limited, the facility is being leased to the joint venture and SCHL will now manage the facility with CLT as the investment partner.

Chris White, Southern Cross Healthcare CEO, says, “We are extremely pleased to be standing here today, with the hospital complete. Despite the challenges of various COVID-19 lockdowns, excellent progress was made on the build and the hospital was handed over from the developer, Queenstown Commercial, on time.”

Staff will spend the next few weeks setting up the equipment and ensuring everything is ready to begin operations in January 2022.

The hospital will then employ 35 people, with more starting in March, when the hospital starts admitting inpatients.

Southern Districts Hospital Board has contracted the hospital to undertake various elective surgical procedures, including acute orthopaedic procedures, saving patients the need to travel to either Dunedin or Invercargill for treatment.

Over time, an increasing schedule of specialist surgery is planned, including orthopaedics, ophthalmology, urology, gynaecology, plastic surgery and general surgery.

Central Lakes Trust CEO Susan Finlay says opening the hospital is a huge milestone for the community.

“A public open day is planned for early next year so we can share this fantastic local asset with the community. People will be able to go behind the scenes to experience parts of the hospital not usually accessible to the public.”

QLDC mayor Jim Boult says,

“I’m delighted to see the new Southern Cross Central Lakes Hospital opening so shortly after construction commenced. This is a wonderful addition to the service provided by the DHB and Lakes District Hospital.”

He adds, “I wish to congratulate Southern Cross and Central Lakes Trust for their vision, their commitment and the outstanding achievement of completing such a major project during a global pandemic.”