Ashburton Hospital’s new acute admitting unit and day theatre has been blessed and will open on December 7.
The public will be invited to look through on November 27.
The Canterbury District Health Board held a blessing on Tuesday, with community funders invited to look at the new facility.
Advance Ashburton contributed $1.5m to the $8.7m upgrade. At the time of the announcement, CDHB chief executive David Meates said the importance of the contribution could not be under-estimated.
Advance Ashburton’s contribution was initially underwritten by the estate of Lynda Frampton, but later received contributions from other charitable sources, including the Mackenzie Charitable Trust, Ashburton Licensing Trust, the Trevor Wilson Charitable Trust and the Lion Foundation.
That funding, together with $450,000 to establish a rural health academic centre, means Ashburton Hospital is now in a strong position to attract specialist medical staff.
Two mannequins were also bought (with donated money) to ensure staff have the latest equipment on which to train.
Tuesday’s blessing was led by Te Wera King, of Arowhenua, with prayers from Fr Geoff Gray and the Rev Joan Clark.
Mr King led a large crowd – shoeless, or dressed in surgical booties – through the site – AAU, the day procedure theatre, recovery area and reception.
The bulk of the work in the building has been done (Bradford Building) and the new facility will be handed over to the CDHB next month.
Advance Ashburton chairman Trevor Croy said it was a project that had been a long time in the planning.
CDHB chair Murray Cleverley said the facility was an important addition to Ashburton’s health capability.
The AAU replaces an older, smaller unit and is designed to assess, stabilise and take short-term care of acute cases. Greg Robertson, CDHB head of surgery, said the AAU would use innovative approaches to rural health services.
“The unit will rely on a type of doctor known as a rural health specialist. This position is a consultant-grade multi-specialty doctor able to manage patients with a wide range of conditions and treatment needs.
“The state of the art unit also allows for medical education, training and research opportunities, helping to attract and retain high quality staff and visiting specialists.”