A long-anticipated, 10 to 20-bed joint venture Southern Cross surgical hospital is due for completion later this year beside Queenstown Country Club off Frankton-Ladies Mile Highway.

The 50/50 joint venture between Southern Cross Healthcare and Central Lakes Trust is being developed by Queenstown Country Club developers, the Sanderson Group.

Construction got underway during the middle of last year and Southern Cross Healthcare chief executive Terry Moore says it should be completed and operational by November or December this year. “We may not formally open the surgery until the start of 2022, depending on the completion date, but we are currently talking to specialists, surgeons, anaesthetists and potential staff,” he says. The hospital is being built with capacity to expand, but starting with two operating theatres initially, and the ability to expand to three. The doctors employed will be a mix of local resident specialists and some who will fly in specifically to perform surgery lists.

Artist’s impressions of part of the new Queenstown Commercial health precinct beside Queenstown Country Club.

Negotiations are also underway with the Southern District Health Board about some public surgical procedures being undertaken in the hospital as well, hopefully by next year, says Terry. “We always intended to ensure the hospital would be available to both private and public patients.”

The new hospital has been a long time coming and Terry says the local community is delighted to see it well underway and finally coming to fruition. “We’ve looked at a number of options over the years and we’re very pleased to see this happen.”

A range of elective surgical procedures will be provided, including endoscopy, general surgery, gynaecology, dental, orthopaedic, urology, plastic surgery and ear, nose and throat surgery.

The Wakatipu area is only going to continue to grow in population and the hospital, which will also cater to the wider Southern Lakes region, including Cromwell and Wanaka, will grow with it, he says. It will enable quality, affordable healthcare to become available to local patients without having to travel to Dunedin, Invercargill and Christchurch.

Meanwhile, Queenstown Commercial, the local arm of the Sanderson Group, is progressing well with its Kawarau Park commercial development behind the Country Club, which includes additional healthcare services. Pacific Radiology opens on the site in October or November this year and development manager Brent Mitchell says there will also be pathology, dental, surgical consultants’ rooms, and physiotherapy services on site. A café and bar is also being developed, along with a convenience store. Apartments above the consultants’ rooms will be made available for family of those undergoing surgery and visiting surgeons coming to work at the hospital, he says.

Gems Daycare, Wakatipu Medical Centre and Shotover Pharmacy are already operating on the site.