Bigger venue for health meeting

HEATHER SIMPSON
Last updated 09:01 10/06/2014
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The venue for a public meeting in Blenheim to discuss the review of surgical services provided by the Nelson Marlborough District Health Board has been changed after a public outcry about the size of the meeting room.

The meeting discussing the top of the south review had been planned for the Marlborough Room, capacity 120 people, at Scenic Hotel Marlborough on June 18.

Marlborough people were dismayed because of the anticipated high level of public interest.

The board said yesterday it had decided to shift the meeting to the Marlborough Convention Centre on June 18 between 5pm and 7pm.

It would be the first chance for the public to quiz board chief executive Chris Fleming and clinicians on how the review would affect staff and services.

Concerns had been raised about the time of the meeting, but Fleming said it would it remain at 5pm to 7pm.

The timing would enable as many people who wanted to attend to do so, including anyone with work commitments during the day, he said.

Fleming had initially defended the decision to hold the meeting in the hotel, saying they had booked a 120-seat room based on advice on expected numbers.

At the time he said the board expected there would be less direct public interest in the outcomes of the review because there was no threat to services.

The review endorsed that 24/7 acute and elective services would be maintained at Wairau Hospital, in Blenheim.

Last year a highly charged Save Our Services public meeting at the Marlborough Convention Centre attracted about 1000 people amid board proposals to cut round-the-clock acute surgery at Wairau Hospital.

Bowing to public opinion, the board withdrew the proposal and agreed to conduct an independent review into general, orthopaedic and surgical services known as the top of the south review.

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- The Marlborough Express

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