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New private hospital due in 2027

A new building for a Masterton-based private surgical hospital that promises to increase much-needed access to healthcare is several years away from opening its doors.

Selina Sutherland Hospital [SSH] announced a joint venture to expand its hospital with private healthcare facility development leaders Matua Health Group [MHG] more than a year ago.

MHG bought land near Wairarapa Hospital on Te Ore Ore Rd to build a new facility that intended to house 10 beds, two operating theatres, and an MRI machine.

The SSH board of trustees called it a “new era for healthcare in Wairarapa”.

Wairarapa Private Hospital board chairman and project coordinator Dr Colin Hutchison is “delighted” to bring in a new team featuring national expertise and local and regional clinicians to support Wairarapa.

“We see a community that needs more doctors and nurses and more healthcare facilities,” Hutchison said.

“What we are doing is basically helping coordinate that and fund that going forward.”

Hutchison, who is also the managing director for Matua Health, estimates the project from design to finish will take three years.

Matua Health is a collaboration of New Zealand owned private healthcare organisations that help to create business plans, back funding, and work with builders and architects, he said.

The group forms relationships with local doctors to guide the future direction of healthcare needs in the region.

Hutchison noted the majority of those committed to supporting the project are regional doctors from the Wairarapa community and Wellington.

“If you look across New Zealand there are massive backlogs in public healthcare,” he said.

“There is a huge unmet demand within our population for healthcare.

“New Zealand healthcare desperately needs the support of private entities to build the new hospitals and radiology companies.”

Hutchison helped to spearhead the $40 million Kaweka Private Hospital build in Hawke’s Bay in 2022.

“By forming a partnership with local clinicians and Matua Health, we have opened the door to developments that will keep pace with growing health demands,” SSH Trust chair Dr Rob Dimock said.

Over the past year, the number of surgical procedures done at Selina Sutherland Hospital has increased by 27 per cent, clinic visits by 41 per cent, and bed occupancy 12 per cent.

Masterton Mayor Gary Caffell said the new facility is going to be a “major plus”.

“We’ve got on record that people are finding it really hard to get doctors anywhere in the Wairarapa,” he said.

“We’ve got a shortage of doctors and we have a lot of services that have to go elsewhere.

“This is going to really help to provide a much better, much quicker health service.”

Meanwhile, senior healthcare executive and project director Ben Harman had pivotal roles in the development of a specialised eye centre in Dunedin and has led national healthcare companies.

“Wairarapa is a wonderful place to live and work, and I am tapping into all my networks to bring new clinicians on board to help meet the demand in both private and public settings,” he said.

“We are looking forward to what 2024 will bring.”

Selina Sutherland Hospital is the only private surgical hospital in Wairarapa and was established in 1995.

It will be renamed through a branding exercise, but the project itself uses the legal company name “Wairarapa Private Hospital”.

Wairarapa Private Hospital [WPH] is an entity owned by surgeons based in New Zealand and MHG.

A new partnership agreement between Selina Sutherland Trust – former owner of Selina Sutherland Hospital – and WPH commenced on February 1 this year.

When SSH moves into the new facility, the wing of Wairarapa Hospital it current leases will be freed up.

In the interim, the hospital will remain on its current site and continue to use its name.

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