The Ashburton Guardian. WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 1 6, 1881. The Ashburton Hospital.
When the. Ashburton County Council built the Hospital in the Domain, they conferred upon the district a very great beneht indeed, and one that we had expected to see the public show their appreciation of in a very tangible way long ago. The Hospital was an institution thaf was very much wanted ; in factinalarge districtlike Ashburton it , was absolutely necessary. But it was equally ,necessary that it should be supported, and the question of its support is one-that sooner or later will press itself upon the district for solution. At presepttbe County Council find all the funds for keeping it open, doing their best tb ; irecbver a proportion of the cost of the cases from the patients themselves. But even though every patient admitted paid - the proportion; asked of him, the expense to be borne by the County would be very large. The funds of the County Council are not wholly exhausted yet, but as work goes dh and payments for it are made,, the la& pound in the purse must in tlie,
end be reached, and then the question of levying rat£s will have to lie dealt with.'" 'When that time comes the annual cost of the Hospital will receive attention at the hands of the ratepayers, and some of them will no doubt make wry faces at having to bear the expense. Still the expense will have to be borne, and it ought to be borne, but not necessarily by the ratepayers alone. Everybody ought to bear a share, and do it willingly—even gladly. Hospitals at Home have come to be looked upon in the light of the people’s right, and thousands of people are treated in them for nothing. But then, public subscriptions supply the means for doing this, and these subscriptions are usually very liberal. Here it is different, and the hospitals sustained by the public’s contributions are not many —but there are some. It has to be borne in mind, then, that though the Hospital has been built for the alleviation of suffering, it was never intended that its benefits should be dispensed in so free and open - handed a manner that all who chose to enter could do so and enjoy the doctor’s care, the nurse’s attention, and the building’s advantages without cost, and that all the Hospital officials should work for the patients’ benefit without fee or reward paid by those who are the recipients of the attendance. It has to be understood that all who are able to pay must pay until the public by their contributions have made the institution independent of other aid. At present the Hospital must cost the County Council one way or another nearly a year, if not more, but as yet we know of no substantial aid that has been given to it from outside, while the impression seems to prevail amongst a large portion of the public that the institution is free to whoever should seek its aid, and that no recompense is due to it for the cost of that aid. This is a mistake, and the sooner it is found out by those who labor under it, the better. The building never was erected for the purpose of being turned into a pauper institution, by which illness should be treated at the cost of the County Council funds. A person so poor that he cannot pay anything must of course be let off; but many seek and obtain hospital benefits, all over the colony, w’ho are perfectly able to pay for them the small fees that are required. We are satisfied that were those fees pressed for, and recovered in cases where the patient is able to pay, the hospitals throughout the colony would be on a far better and more satisfactory footing than they are. We contend that the institution is not a pauper one, and never was intended as such. The chief argument urged for its erection was that it would supply those circumstances under which invalids could be properly and successfully treated, which were wanting in many homes even of well-to-do people in the district, and supply in Ashburton a refuge nearer than Christchurch for those who meet with dangerous accidents, requiring all the appliances, accessories, and accommodation an hospital can afford. A man with a shattered and lacerated body had to be conveyed 50 miles to Christchurch by rail, after perhaps as many miles rough travel by road. It is a self-evident fact, that when 50 miles were cut off his journey to reach proper surgical aid, that much more hope for. his recovery was given. The benefits cannot be denied that are given by the Hospitals, but still those benefits are not, like the air we breathe, the right and title of all —without money, and without price. Now, we ask, is it not time that some system of public support for the Hospital should be organised ? At Home, we remember, every church had its “ Hospital Sunday,” every large factory raised its annual subscription, every trade society paid its independent quota to the Hospital funds, every shop, every gang of men, every individual, in fact, felt himself in duty bound to contribute his mite. The maintenance of a “ bed ” in the Hospital cost a certain sura annually, and trade societies vied with each other in the number of “ beds ” they supported, and according to the number of “ beds ” written against the society’s name, it had the right of nominating to the benefits of the Hospital an equal number of patients—subject always to the rules of the institution. Why could not some such system be organised here ? Why do not the churches, by special effort, secure to themselves a “ bed ” or two ? And the stations in the district also, and all the little townships and groups of farms ? There are no trades societies here, to be sure, but there are plenty of tradesmen ; and many contractors employing innumerable working men. All these could aid the Hospital, and ought to, for it is from their ranks that the “ beds ” of the Hospital find most of their occupants. The miners on the West Coast know full well the value of their infirmaries, and we know no place where a finer spirit is manifested in helping a useful institution. The diggers will contribute to their hospital when they will contribute to nothing else, and we hope to see a similar spirit permeating the people of this district, so that funds may .be supplied to the institution, that its efficiency may be maintained, and its benefits be given to cases that cannot bring in a-financial return, without loss to the funds of a body whose duties are scarcely, after all, those of a parish relieving officer.
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Ashburton Guardian, Ashburton Guardian, Volume 2, Issue 270, 16 February 1881
The Ashburton Guardian. WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 16, 1881. The Ashburton Hospital. Ashburton Guardian, Volume 2, Issue 270, 16 February 1881
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