Hospital hires new sonographer

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Oamaru Hospital’s sonography service should be fully operational by the end of next month, with the appointment of a new sonographer.

The hospital has not been able to provide a full sonography service since January, due to unforeseen circumstances.

Oamaru Hospital general manager Robert Gonzales said they appointed another sonographer several weeks ago and she will start working full-time by July 21.

She is currently working two days a week at the hospital until she moves with her family to Oamaru, he said.

“She knocked on our door, it was incredible.”

For the past six months, they have had limited cover from other providers, who have not always been available.

At times, they have had to ask GPs and patients to look at other options such as using another type of scan or travelling to Dunedin or Timaru, Mr Gonzales said.

They had all the equipment so it would be good to have the services back to normal again, he said.

“We’re very pleased.”

The hospital was lucky they would now be able to provide a full service, as there was a shortage of sonographers around the country, he said.

“The whole country is short of sonographers. It is such a specialised aspect of radiology.”

Mr Gonzales said he was grateful for everyone’s patience and looked forward to being fully operational again.

The hospital has two machines, meaning they have the capacity to have them both running at once.

By RUBY HARFIELD