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Government funding for crucial health support infrastructure

Two health providers will receive funding through the Government’s infrastructure for building projects in Christchurch that will provide South Island patients and their families improved access to accommodation and support while they receive treatment.

The Bone Marrow Cancer Trust (BMCT) will receive $7 million to build 42 self-contained units for patients and their families and whanau.

The Cancer Society will receive $6.5 million for the construction of a fit-for-purpose, 50-bedroom accommodation facility for cancer patients and their families and whanau from outside Christchurch and a community centre.

Together, the construction projects are expected to create more than 420 jobs and put $13.5 million into the Canterbury economy.

“These are great projects which will provide the region with modern and fit for purpose facilities for patients and their whanau at a time when they need the best possible support around them.

“I am delighted that this wellbeing infrastructure is being funded by our Government. The projects together provide a solid construction work programme for Canterbury to help reduce the impact the COVID-19 pandemic is having on our regional economies,” Shane Jones said.

“Canterbury health providers have been coping with facilities damaged by the quakes, aging infrastructure and increased demand for their services. These two new builds will help the Canterbury region deliver the best possible support for patients and their families during a period when they are under enormous stress,” Poto Williams said.

“They will also add to Christchurch’s recovery, renewal and resilience, and its reputation as a modern and welcoming city.”

About the projects:

Ranui Apartments

The Bone Marrow Cancer Trust (BMCT) was formed in 1990 and fundraised in 1991 to build a world-class Bone Marrow Transplant Unit at Christchurch Hospital. Before this, The unit is now under the Christchurch District Health Board.

The trust has two facilities that provide 25 short-term residential accommodation units for patients and their families when the patient is required to come to Christchurch for medical treatment. Increasing demand means some patients and families cannot be accommodated.

In 2010 the trust purchased land close to the hospital. It aims to develop the site into 42 additional fully self-contained apartments for patients and their families and whanau as a ‘medi-hotel’ that will be known as Ranui Apartments

The accommodation allows the patient and family to remain a unit in an inviting, supportive environment while treatment is undertaken.

Cancer Society accommodation

Before the 2011 Christchurch Earthquake, the Cancer Society delivered its regional services from a multi-purpose centre in Manchester Street and a purpose- built accommodation facility in Cambridge Terrace.

The accommodation component was acquired by the Crown following the 2011 quakes and the adjacent community facility was badly damaged. Because the Cancer Society Centre was not cost-effective to repair, the remaining land was sold and block of motels were purchased to accommodate out-of-town patients and their families.

The capacity is not sufficient to meet increasing demand and there is frequent “over-flow” with patients spread out across city motels.

The new facility aims to address accessibility needs, provide a ‘home away from home’ for out-of-town cancer patients and provide the citizens of Christchurch and the regions access to cancer information, support and cancer community programmes all on one site.

The funding announced today is part of the $3 billion infrastructure package in the COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund, announced by Finance Minister Grant Robertson and Shane Jones on July 1. The fund is expected to deliver more than 20,000 jobs across New Zealand and unlock investment with a project value of more than $5 billion.

Crown funding for these projects will be administered by Ōtākaro Limited, which can also provide support to the projects given its experience in construction in Canterbury. All approvals are in principle and subject to contract negotiations. Investment values are also subject to change.