South Waikato Medical Hub

When the DHB announced a decision that they were looking at the financial viability of
the Tokoroa hospital, the community felt insecure about possibly losing a secondary
healthcare service, particularly with hospital care in Hamilton a daunting 90 kilometres
away. Added to that was the under-utilised facility and the spread of health care services
in Tokoroa. The Mayor and CE decided to take leadership by acting as facilitator with the
wider health community of providers to explore their issues in their individual practices.
They identified that despite the population decline in Tokoroa there has been no drop off in
the health needs particularly amongst its Maori and Pacific Island communities. Diabetes,
cardiovascular disease, congestive heart failure, and rheumatic fever are all at a higher
prevalence than the national average. It was therefore critical for the community to fight to
retain a local hospital service if at all possible.

But could the threat of closing the hospital be reframed as an opportunity to re-consider
the method provision of all health services, and open up new benefits? Was there
a combined solution which would also ‘tick the boxes’ of each party, including the

Discussions between the key players, including Raukawa and Pacifica groups generated
an idea that had not been considered before, namely bringing the different health practices
together onto the Hospital site. Benefits included cost reduction and the multiple synergies
for practitioners as well as for patients that arise from different health practitioners
operating from the same facility. The solution crystallised into a proposition for Tokoroa
Hospital to become a full Medical Services Hub which attracted new investment funding
from the DHB of $2.1 million. This would gather all the key services and providers under
one roof, and in so doing create a win-win business case which avoided the need to shut
the hospital.