Board declines hydrotherapy pool funding
Waikato District Health Board today rejected 7-2 an application from a Hamilton trust to help fund a $2.4 million public hydrotherapy pool in the city.
The Hamilton Hydrotherapy Pool Charitable Trust wanted the board to consider two funding options:
- a five year contract for exclusive use of the pool for up to 20 hours a week for $100,000 a year, or
- capital contributions of $500,000 in return for 20 hours use a week for five years.
It was the third time in a year the trust asked the board to consider funding. Each time the board declined.
Waikato Hospital has its own hydrotherapy pool where more than 70 patients a day exercise in the 35-degree heat to aid their recovery from stroke, injury or surgery.
Any person under the care of a Waikato District Health Board physiotherapist can use the pool.
Waikato DHB chief executive Craig Climo said the board already owned and operated a hydrotherapy facility and did not need another one.
“Whilst management supports public amenities for physical activity it is not an area that the DHB should be funding.
“I also asked (the board) if that is where we should be making our next investment particularly in light of all the other competing demands on our funding including our own huge capital investment programme,” said Mr Climo.
Health Waikato chief operating officer Jan Adams told the board the hospital’s steam-heated hydrotherapy pool was 46 years old and in good condition with a recently installed new $1950 pump.
“The pool is not about to wear out, however it has a vinyl lining which is replaced every 10 years at a cost of $7850.”
Annual operating costs, including overheads, are $92,000.
“The physiotherapy department has viewed the public hydrotherapy pool as not designed to replace our current pool but to support patients with continued access once discharged from the hospital pool or for private access.
“They view this in a similar vein to patients who currently have inpatient gym programmes for rehabilitation at the hospital that are then continued at a community gym on discharge,” said Mrs Adams.
Board members Gordon Chesterman, a Hamilton city councillor, and Dr Suresh Vatsyayann, argued that board funding of a public hydrotherapy pool was appropriate as a wellness model.
However, board member Ted Armstrong said the country was in a serious financial situation and the board needed to “cut its cloth to suit the times”.
Earlier today in a report to the board, Mr Climo said every dollar the DHB had was needed to fund campus redevelopment and future services.
“The more we spend now - either planned or unplanned - the further out we will push capital expenditure and new or additional services.”
Craig Climo sound bite
Photo caption: Benjamin Henwood helps his son Cameron practice visual skills in Waikato Hospital’s hydrotherapy pool.
For a high resolution copy of this photo - please see our Photo Gallery/News photos
Date: 10 December 2008
Mary Anne Gill
Media and Communications Director
Waikato District Health Board
Ph: 07 834 3684
Fax: 07 834 3673
Mobile: 021 705 213