Health Assistance Fund attracts 37 applications
Applications to the Community Health Assistance fund closed on Friday (September 22), with 37 applications received.
The fund was set up by Hastings District Council and Hawke’s Bay Regional Council to help people who had suffered financially through long-term illness related to last year’s campylobacter outbreak in Havelock North. Each council contributed $100,000 towards the $200,000 fund.
While the first stage of the Government Inquiry into the campylobacter outbreak found that neither council had directly caused the illness, both councils wanted to assist residents who were struggling to recover from it.
Funding has also been committed by project management company Stantec, to support the community assistance scheme. “We have worked with Council to provide water services in Hastings since 2000. Our support of the Health Assistance Fund is part of Stantec’s commitment to the community,” Said Mark Bruzzone, the managing director of Stantec New Zealand and Australia.
Hastings District Council community facilities and programmes manager Alison Banks said it was expected that the assessment process would take about four weeks, depending on the complexity of the applications.
An independent GP is completing the assessment of the applications, including interviewing each of the applicants to see if they fit the criteria: financial hardship from long-term illness related to the 2016 Havelock North campylobacter outbreak.
The recommendations of the GP would then go to a panel for a final decision. That panel is made up of two community representatives, a representative from Hastings District Council, one from Hawke’s Bay Regional Council and one from central Government (the Ministry of Social Development).
The total amount of applications before the assessor is just over $300,000.
Acting mayor Sandra Hazlehurst said decisions on the assessments would be made based on the applicants’ health needs and the financial impact of those. “I want to assure the applicants that each of their situations will be independently and fairly assessed. Decisions will be made based on the personal financial costs of applicants suffering from long-term health problems,” said Mrs Hazlehurst.
If the final total comes out at over $200,000 staff will report back to Council seeking direction.
Council will not be releasing individual amounts of applications nor any health details, in order to fully protect the privacy of individuals.