Hospital plans revealed

HEATHER SIMPSON
Last updated 08:57 17/06/2014
NMDHB
DEREK FLYNN/FAIRFAX NZ
REVIEW: NMDHB executive Chris Fleming, left, and associate medical director David Bond will speak at the public meeting in Blenheim tomorrow on the review into surgical services at the board’s two hospitals.

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Marlborough people will have their first chance to hear how patients and staff will be affected by the future shape of general medicine and surgical services at Nelson and Wairau hospitals.

Clinicians within Nelson Marlborough District Health Board will speal at a public meeting tomorrow at Marlborough Convention Centre on the top of the south review.

The independent review addressed the future of general medicine, general and orthopaedic surgery.

It was instigated following last year's highly charged Save Our Services public meeting that opposed cuts to round-the-clock acute surgery.

The review came in the wake of quality and safety concerns, particularly within general surgery at Wairau, and intense financial pressure the board had been placed under following the $36.6 million rebuild of Wairau Hospital.

National party Kaikoura candidate Stuart Smith spearheaded the Save Our Services meeting and was part of the reference group which offered a sounding board for the review panel.

He said Save Our Services had not been a witch hunt but had helped the review team set out a roadmap for health services.

One of the recommendations of the review was board-wide senior medical officer appointments.

Smith said he and the community would be keeping a watchful eye the board stuck to the recommendation.

"We need to ensure that Wairau is fully staffed," Smith said. "The shortage of senior medical officers has put too much pressure on locums."

Nelson Marlborough District Health Board member Jessica Bagge said the meeting tomorrow night was part two of the Save Our Services meeting held last year which opposed cuts to Wairau.

"The meeting is so important. So many people made such a noise when they felt under threat, the public should come to the meeting and see what is happening.

"We need to take responsibility for our healthcare. There is not going to be enough money in the years to come. With an ageing population we need to get to grips with that and look at staying healthy for longer."

Board chief executive Chris Fleming said the review was an evolution of services, not the perceived threat of revolution.

The board had delivered on their promise to maintain 24/7 acute and elective surgery at Wairau Hospital, he said.

"It is an incremental journey, taking steps year by year," Fleming said.

"We can only do that if the workforce and the community support us. If that falls apart we go back to that cycle of concerns of fears and threats and of people advocating for their own corner. There would be no additional funding to implement the recommendations over the next 10 years.

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The public meeting will be held tomorrow at Marlborough Convention Centre in Blenheim between 5pm and 7pm.

- Marlborough

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