Loss for Ozanam House

Staff at Ozanam House are still working through the implications of Tairawhiti District Health Board's decision to send cancer patients to Hamilton instead of Palmerston North from July.

Patients undergoing treatment at Palmerston North Hospital and their families are able to stay at Ozanam House, which is located nearby and run by a trust. The Tairawhiti DHB area covers Gisborne and the Poverty Bay.

"It's a sad loss for the trust," secretary Roger Clark said.

Mr Clark said the trust board that ran the house was looking at what the decision, confirmed this week, would mean.

"The financial effect, it's difficult to know at this stage. It's not going to affect the viability of the place.

"We'll still continue to provide a home away from home for people receiving treatment at the hospital."

The connection between Ozanam House and Gisborne cancer patients goes right back to when it opened in 1967.

Mr Clark said the Dufferins, the first people to stay at Ozanam House after it opened, were from the Gisborne.

"That was the beginning," Mr Clark said. "The staff here hold many fond memories of the Gisborne and East Coast guests, they're the nicest people, they're very appreciative."

It has previously been estimated by MidCentral DHB that 10 per cent of the cancer patients treated at Palmerston North were from the Tairawhiti District. "For over 40 years we've provided accommodation for hundreds of patients from Gisborne and the East Coast."

Palmerston North Hospital will continue to take cancer patients from the Hawke's Bay, Wairarapa, Taranaki and Whanganui DHBs as well as MidCentral.

Manawatu Standard