A new hospital has opened its doors in the Queenstown area.
The Southern Cross Central Lakes Hospital at Kawarau Park has three operating theatres and 13 inpatient beds.
Constructed by Queenstown Commercial Limited, the facility is being leased to Southern Cross Healthcare (SCHL) and the Central Lakes Trust (CLT), which are running the hospital as a joint venture: SCHL is managing the facility, with CLT as the investment partner.
SCHL's chief executive Chris White said the hospital's services were not limited to private elective surgeries.
He told RNZ it was important to SCHL and CLT that district health board patients be admitted too.
"We will have relationships not just with health insurance providers but also ACC and the Southern District Health Board (SDHB) so that we have DHB patients through as well."
SDHB has contracted the hospital to undertake some elective surgical procedures, including a regular weekly operating list for acute orthopaedic procedures, which will save patients the need to travel to Invercargill for treatment.
Over time, an increasing schedule of specialist surgery is planned for the facility, including orthopaedics, ophthalmology, urology, gynaecology, plastic, and general surgery.
The hospital will not provide accident and emergency services but will be funded by ACC to provide surgery for qualifying injured patients.
SDHB chief executive Chris Fleming said theatre capacity for the region was being increased with the new facility.
"This new hospital allows us to provide more convenient services to our Queenstown and Central Lakes population and relieves the existing pressure on our services in Invercargill and Dunedin."
Queenstown Lakes District Council mayor Jim Boult said the hospital was a "wonderful addition" to the service provided by the DHB at Lakes District Hospital.
"While Lakes provides an outstanding service, particularly for accident and emergency, we have long needed a facility that provides a local option for elective surgery which does not require major hospital level treatment.
"Folk in our area have had to put up with the requirement to travel to either Dunedin or Invercargill for many years for day surgery or tests and our new facility will negate the need for that."
White said the next month would be spent preparing staff for the first patient admissions in mid-January.
The hospital will employ about 35 people when it opens, with additional staff due to start in March.