4th November 2011, Volume 124 Number 1345

Published in NZMJ May 1912:11(42):136.

Serious doubts as to whether the Otaki Sanatorium is doing what is claimed for it were expressed by Mr. B. R. Gardener at the meeting of the Charitable Aid Board in March.

Mr. Gardener thought that the board should be informed of the condition of the patients who passed through the sanatorium. At present all that was known about the institution was that certain patients were discharged from time to time as "able to work." Members of the board were informed that these people were able to work when they left the sanatorium, but they know nothing of how the patients fared later.

Only two or three patients had entered the institution from his district, and all of them had died. It was just possible that the treatment received by the patients was not having the good results that were claimed for it, and, in view of the fact that £30,000 to £40,000, had been spent on the place, the board had a right to know more about the patients after they left it.

Each patient entering the sanatorium cost about £150, if proper account was taken of capital cost of buildings, or about £90, omitting this. He did not believe that the sanatorium was doing the good work that members had been led to believe. He was not sure, either, whether the institution was being conducted as it ought to be. One patient had been in it for twenty months, and others had been in it for various periods, ranging down to six months. He thought that it was intended that it should be an educational sanatorium rather than a hospital. He understood that patients were to be treated there for three months or so, and that they were then to be sent away to treat themselves by the methods they had learned in the sanatorium. He would move:

"That the names and last addresses of those patients that have been treated and discharged from the Otaki Sanatorium be forwarded to the Health Department with a request that their inspectors make inquiries as to the present condition of those that have left the sanatorium, and report to the board at a future date."

Mr. W. Tompsitt seconded the motion.

Mr. Van Staveren pointed out that the motion could do no good. The board had had the very same question under consideration eighteen months ago, and it had then been made clear that the board had no power to do more than recommend the matter to the Government for consideration. He hoped that the time would come soon when there would be legislation to deal with the position, but now there was none, and it was, therefore, useless to pass the motion.

The motion was carried.

NZMJ Note: A response to Mr Gardener’s opinion is published at http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/cgi-bin/paperspast?a=d&d=EP19130905.2.159