Australia’s largest hospital for the homeless to close over lack of funding
A privately run hospital for people on the margins of society will close after more than a year without funding, leaving its staff in limbo.
Key points:Auckland’s Otoro Hospital will close in DecemberThe closure of the facility will save around $5.5 millionAuckland Mayor Phil Goff said the closure was the result of a lack of staff and support”The staff were very, very upset,” he said.
“There’s not much that’s going to happen because of that.”
Auckland city council said it was reviewing its contract with Otoros dental health provider.
It was a decision taken by the city council on December 15 after discussions with OToros CEO Andrew Williams and Dr Williams, who is the acting president of the Auckland Hospital and Health System.
It said it had decided not to renew its contract.
The Otorosi dental clinic has a small waiting list of around 40 people, but has been a key focus of the city’s homelessness crisis.
It has seen around 500 homeless people in the last year, and has seen a significant increase in the number of patients coming through its doors.
“I think there are some very, really difficult decisions to be made in terms of what we can do and how we can go about this, and the people who work there, how they’re going to be affected,” Mr Goff said.
Otoros has said it needs to find a way to provide a “life-long” dental care network in the city.
But the centre has been unable to meet this challenge, with a shortage of beds and staff and a lack the funds.
Mr Goff said it would be “very difficult” for the community to access dental care if the centre closes.
“We’re not in a position to operate on a daily basis.
If we close, that’s a big blow to the community,” he told 3AW.”
If we have to close overnight, then the impact is going to last longer, because that’s the way it is.”
The city’s mayor said it will be important to maintain the services it provides to Aucklanders, and to ensure there is an “adequate supply of dental care”.
“There is no one else to help out in the community who are homeless,” he added.
“The services that we provide, and that the people of Auckland are entitled to receive, are very important to the people.”
Mr Goff thanked the community for their support, and said the Otoroa Health System was committed to helping the homeless in the future.
“In a way, it’s a thank you for what we’ve done in the past year, which has helped people who are very isolated and have no access to the health care that we do, and who can have their teeth repaired,” he explained.
“Because we’ve been here for so long, the staff have been able to build a long-term relationship with the people, and it’s been very rewarding.”
He said it’s difficult for staff to make appointments with the patients they see, and stressed the need to provide an “extended dental care pathway”.
“This is not an emergency, and we’re not just here to stay overnight.
We’re here to make sure that they can get the care they need, and hopefully we’ll see more of them.”