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Local Focus: QE Health’s last hurrah for a new beginning

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Rotorua’s QE Health celebrates 80 years of wrap-around health services- and prepares for the next 80.

QE Hospital has taken a different approach to health and wellbeing from day one, when it was established by Dr Wilfred Stanley Wallis.

Chief executive Dr Aaron Randell said Dr Wallis’ idea back in 1942 was “pretty groundbreaking”.

“QE is about mind, body, spirit, that’s the approach that’s carried on through, ever since it started … It’s always been about treating the person as a whole and making them the best person they could be.”

The original QE building was intended to be temporary and is now in desperate need of replacement.

Randell said although the tired building looks its age, it’s what’s inside that matters. “The connection between staff and clients, that’s something that has got 80 years of history, that’s 80 years in the making of how we do things.”

A new purpose-built facility is set to open next year – scheduled for January or February.

Randell said the new building will be a place his staff can be proud to work in, hoping “it reflects the amazing service they do. We’ve got a 5-star service inside the building, and now we’ve got a 5-star building to reflect that”.

“It’s exciting because it’s designed for how we want to operate, we don’t have to fit ourselves into rooms, or modify things.”

The present QE site still had enough life left in her for one last hurrah – a fundraising event for the new building’s fit-out.

Trustee and former QE nurse Mary “Sammy” Lean was delighted to get the event off the ground, and enlisted the help of Rotorua’s Rotary West.

“We went to Rotary really to ask if the art auction for this year, if QE could be the beneficiary to help with the fit-out. But Rotary said we’ll do Melbourne Cup. They do it every year somewhere ‘so we’ll do it at QE this year’. That’s how it’s come about.”

She said in lieu of the Rotary Art Event, they still managed to auction two of Zoe Ireland’s paintings and an array of other framed works in a silent auction.

For Lean, the ethos of QE is simple. “It’s giving them the best shot at life for the future – giving them encouragement and purpose. Wellbeing is not the absence of disease.”

Both Randell and Lean are optimistic healthcare reforms will bring more people through the centre’s doors, and that QE will last another 80 years.

For those who missed the party, Randell says there are other ways to help the community facility and charity including a Givealittle page.

“I’m welcoming people to come in and talk to me and see how they might want to contribute to QE – whether it be buying a piece of equipment, or we also have some arrangements with people if they’re looking at naming rooms,” he said.

“There’s an option for some people to come in and have a pretty individualised package for them.”



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