This fund (charitable trust) was created in Whakatane/Eastern Bay of Plenty area, to allow the treatment of urgent medical and surgical problems; where patients through financial hardship and difficult circumstances, would normally have to wait months before treatment. The creation of this charitable trust will allow those patients who are reviewed in a specialist clinic, free of charge, to be assessed as to the urgency of their problem and then to be investigated.The Emergency Treatment Fund will therefore pay for the urgent investigation and specialist review/treatment. This will also allow prioritisation of the patient problem and an initial referral to the public system with a priority rating. If there is still a considerable wait for treatment, the patient’s condition will again be reviewed, and if in the opinion of the treating specialist, the wait for treatment in a public hospital is potentially detrimental to either the mental or physical health of the patient, the fund will then consider paying for private treatment.

Currently the waiting times for specialist review and treatment vary considerably,  partly because of the finite number of resources in the public system, and the fact that there doesn’t exist in a number of specialties a priority system for treatment. The fund will therefore also have as a function augmentation of an overstretched public system through the urgent investigation of patients; thereby potentially relieving pressure and delay through public investigation. This concept is supported in the local region by the Eastern Bay Primary Health Alliance.

Determination, of which patients should be supported by the fund, will partly be determined by GPs who know their patients, and know   which patients have genuine hardship and urgent problems for review. They will then be reviewed at the free specialist review clinic, where the specialist will make the final evaluation to proceed with investigation and/or treatment. Investigations, and if necessary treatment, will then be organised by the review specialist, and paid for by the fund.

The Structure of The Emergency Treatment Fund

The trust is  a legal entity and has six trustees. These trustees were drawn from the Whakatane/Ohope area. Their function is to supervise the operation of the fund and ensure that it complies with its charter. As a charitable trust the fund can take tax-deductible donations. It is envisaged, and hoped that this money will partly come from the private/business sector allowing business/corporate’s to make a direct contribution to the local community. The website that is associated with the fund will therefore contain advertising from those local businesses who would like to support the concept. The website will also allow personal donations, and will allow the registration of names of those people who donate more than $50 to the fund, although that can also be an anonymous donation. Literature supporting the concept will be generated which will also offer the prospect of support through advertising. The trustees will meet several times a year and be consulted for any expenditure required for patients over $5000.

The fund will be listed on a crowd-funding website to try and further ensure its financial growth; thereby allowing more patients to be treated.

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