Wellington Scoop

Te Omanga Hospice buys former aged-care facility as temporary home during rebuild

Press Release – Te Omanga Hospice
Te Omanga Hospice, the Hutt Valley specialist palliative care provider, today announced that it purchased Britannia House in Petone at an auction in Lower Hutt yesterday. Britannia House is a former aged care facility which closed late last year due to financial difficulties.

Te Omanga’s chief executive Biddy Harford said, “Britannia House will become home to Te Omanga Hospice while our new purpose-built hospice is being constructed on our Woburn Road site. Britannia House also ensures that there will be a continuity of specialist palliative services for those living with a life-limiting condition and their families during the construction period.”

Stephen Fitzjohn, Petone Residence for the Elderly Charitable Trust Chair, said today he welcomed the news that Te Omanga Hospice have purchased Britannia House. “It is the best possible outcome from a very difficult and sad situation.”

Stephen said, “Trustees were forced to make the decision to close Britannia House after facing the reality that it was no longer a financially viable operation. Trustees worked hard to arrive at a win/win for Britannia House residents and staff and these included subsidies of on-going care for those residents that moved to the Bob Scott Retirement Village and ex-gratia payments to staff that were to lose their jobs.”

Britannia House has a Rateable Value of $960,000 and was sold to Te Omanga for $1,350,000.

In November, Te Omanga announced that the existing earthquake-prone hospice would be demolished and replaced with a purpose-built comprehensive palliative care facility on the Woburn Road site. This decision was the result of an extensive process following the Canterbury earthquakes involving engineers’ reports and taking into consideration the Hutt City Council’s requirement for buildings to be compliant by 2018.

“The decision to demolish the current building was not an easy one given its history. However, we needed to have a safe building and a purpose-built facility was on balance better than making the existing building compliant.”

The hospice intends moving its operations to Petone in September. Demolition of the current hospice building was scheduled to take place in October.

Biddy Harford said, “We expect to be based at Britannia House for the duration of the rebuild. Our in-patient unit, clinical teams, and the hospice’s administration will all move to Petone for the next two years while our new hospice is being built.

“Britannia House provides an ideal solution for Te Omanga. It is a certificated facility, is centrally located, has off-street parking and is accessible by public transport. While we explored a number of other options, none of the alternatives enabled the hospice to operate from one location during the rebuild.

Stephen Fitzjohn said: “The sale of the property can now be seen as a win3 for the community with Te Omanga Hospice benefitting from the use of the property whilst they, in turn, go through a period of change.”

Te Omanga Hospice first opened in September 1979 in a former residential property on Bloomfield Terrace. Over the years, it has occupied a number of sites before moving to Woburn Road in 1991.

Biddy Harford said: “While Te Omanga will be based at Britannia House for the next two years, hospice is not a building; it is a philosophy of care. Our goal is to help people make the most of their lives, we strive to care for the whole person, not just their physical needs but also their emotional, spiritual, and social needs too. For their families and friends, both before and after a death. Irrespective of where they are or we are based, this philosophy of care will not change and our service will remain free of charge.”

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