Plan to transfer health services to regional hospitals

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Waitaki District Health Services hope devolving of services to regional hospitals could benefit Oamaru.

In his half-yearly report, which will be considered by the Waitaki District Council at its meeting tomorrow, WDHS chairman George Berry said the Southern District Health Board was considering decentralising some services, such as scanning and outpatient clinics to regional hospitals.

“We hope this will lead to more local provision of these services,” he said.

“We believe this could achieve significant costs saving for the district health board and certainly would save travel costs to patients.”

Mr Berry said although WDHS had a contract with the Southern District Health Board for scanning services, “significantly higher volumes of local scans” could be done in Oamaru to avoid the need for travel.

“But there appears to be reluctance to devolve additional CT scanning work to Oamaru Radiology Department.”

Mr Berry said in his report that it was pleasing to find all medical officers’ positions at Oamaru Hospital were filled at the present time. A review of nurse staffing requirements was being made.

“The report is in the final stages of evaluation for approval and any consequential changes that may be needed,” he said.

“The hospital inpatient wards have experienced some exceptionally high peaks of activity and all credit needs to be extended to the medical and nursing staff who have coped with these additional pressures as they have occurred.”

Mr Berry said the company had traded satisfactorily for the half year with a net surplus of $161,111 for the period. The company recorded a profit of $68,411 for the half year and the trust a surplus of $92,700.

By CHRIS TOBIN