Motueka shows it cares

HELEN MURDOCH
Last updated 15:58 07/02/2013
Jack Inglis
HELEN MURDOCH

OPEN FOR BUSINESS: Jack Inglis (right) applauds as Associate Minister of Health Jo Goodhew cuts the ribbon to officially open the new wing of the Jack Inglis Friendship Hospital.

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The man who is the face of Motueka's community hospital was moved to tears when he stood to speak at last Saturday's opening of his latest project - a $2.5 million 28-bed rest care wing.

His voice breaking with emotion, Jack Inglis told the crowd there were too many people to thank. Communities nationwide would recognise Motueka's achievement in financing, building and managing its own community hospital.

The new wing, complete with lounge, dining and activities rooms and ensuites in every room, joins the existing 45-bed hospital which was opened in 2009.

The total 73-bed unit offers hospice, rest and hospital care to the community. The former Nelson-Marlborough District Health Board (NMDHB) hospital, also on the Courtney St site, offers maternity care and a centre for district health. The St John Ambulance service and other health providers are also located there.

Jack told the crowd of about 150 that the extension was built because the managing voluntary trust recognised that the 2009 facility was not big enough to be financially sustainable long term.

"This is possibly the only hospital built, owned and run by a community in Australasia."

He said some finishing work was still required on the new wing and the trust would continue fundraising to finance the debt-funded project.

Guest speakers praised the community effort, the trust's vision and Jack's focus, resilience and refusal to take "no" for an answer.

NMDHB chairwoman Jenny Black said the facility represented a "stunning effort by a stunning community" and a courageous move by the trust. "This is a huge commitment and shows faith in the community of Motueka."

Nelson MP and hospital trustee Nick Smith said he could remember his first approach from Jack in the 1980s when Motueka's former NMDHB-owned hospital was threatened with closure.

"Jack said if the hospital closed I was dead meat."

The trust was formed soon after and went on to lead a multitude of fundraising events in order to buy the NMDHB hospital and eventually build the new facility.

"One of the first was a golf

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