The Friends of Oamaru Hospital

The Friends of Oamaru Hospital recently held their AGM and following discussion it was decided by those members present that the time had come to wind-up the group. At a further meeting a few weeks later this decision was ratified, with regret, but by a unanimous vote. The Friends was established in 1990 by Rodney Grater, an Oamaru lawyer, and a group of like-minded folk. They, like many other North Otago residents, had become very concerned at the direction health issues had been taking in our area to the point Government had mooted our hospital was being considered for closure. Many of you will remember, and indeed probably joined in, the march through Oamaru which attracted more than 13,000 people to show very strong opposition to such a move. As a result the hospital was retained but lost surgical services and the Friends’ was formed to ensure nothing further was to be lost. Over the years the group has been very active in lobbying the Southern District Health Board, often with great success and sometimes not so. Initially, with a large membership base paying subscriptions and some generous donations, it was possible to help the hospital financially too by purchasing non-government funded items. In recent times we have been able to facilitate the purchase of eight mobile reclining chairs for the Ward, as well as several other items, and it is good to know there will be a tangible reminder of the group at the hospital because of this.
However, the membership had become small in number and of advanced years. The ways and means of being able to effectively lobby both at SDHB and central Government level have also changed, thus the decision was made to close. The Constitution of the group required that any remaining funds at the time of closure should go to an organisation with like-minded ideals. Thus it was unanimously agreed the final amount of just under $5,000 will be transferred to the special account at the Oamaru Hospital for the purchase of non-government funded items for use within the hospital. We take this opportunity to publicly acknowledge all those folk who, over many years, have been the driving force behind the Friends of Oamaru Hospital – their efforts have been much appreciated. Well done! Pat Avis – Secretary

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