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Town chips in for operating theatre

A Riverland town has raised thousands of dollars to pay for the maintenance of a public hospital after the South Australian Government said it could not afford it, ABC News reports.

The Waikerie Health Advisory Council (HAC) and local community raised about $131,000 to upgrade the operating theatre’s air-conditioning system.

Issues with the air conditioning in the Waikerie Hospital were discovered mid-last year but on further inspection the system was deemed non-compliant.

Waikerie HAC presiding member Justin Loffler said it had no choice but to pay for the repairs as Country Health SA indicated it did not have the money in this year’s budget.

“We felt the community would be opposed to having that shut for even a shortish period of time … so panic, I guess, is the word that comes into your mind to start with,” he said.

“It’s certainly not our role to be funding the maintenance and compliance-type issues that keep a hospital running on a day-to-day basis.

“[It] obviously has a big impact on the HAC because we feel we should be spending it on making things better at the hospital, not just trying to keep it open.”

The Waikerie HAC was told this week it would be reimbursed just $34,000 for the repairs by the State Government.

Country Health SA Riverland and Mallee Coorong acting regional director Tanya Lehmann said it was unlikely any further funding would be offered.

“The Waikerie HAC has got a number of forward projects that they’re working on at the moment, including a major redevelopment of the car park, and I think they have a number of projects in mind for the resources they have available.”

She said the financial support from Waikerie HAC and the community was necessary for the repairs to go ahead.

FULL STORY AND PHOTO

Waikerie community pays for public hospital repairs to keep operating theatre open (ABC News)