Case needs determine location

23:22, Jan 27 2013

The possibility of Wairau Hospital losing its general and orthopaedic surgery would represent a major change in the care offered by Marlborough's main hospital. Penny Wardle asked the hospital to explain what surgeons are currently on staff. 

Eleven surgeons are employed at Wairau Hospital in Blenheim, says service manager Becky Olson.

Four surgeons performed orthopaedic surgery, three specialised in obstetrics and gynaecology, three in general surgery and one in opthamology (eye surgery).

The numbers represented surgeons employed, not fulltime positions.

Three general surgeons operated on patients at Wairau and some were referred to Nelson Hospital, Mrs Olson said.

In all specialties, there were times when a patient might require surgery in Wellington, Christchurch or Nelson.


"Where the patient has surgery can depend on the surgery required and the complexity of the case," Mrs Olson said. "This is a clinical decision based on what is best for the patient."

Nelson-based ear nose and throat specialists held clinics at Wairau Hospital and a visiting paediatric specialist from Christchurch performed routine operations on children. Complex or urgent paediatric cases were referred to Christchurch or Wellington and obstetrics and gynaecology cases to Christchurch.

Nelson-based surgeons performed urological and dental surgery at Wairau, Mrs Olson said.

One long-term locum was employed at Wairau, in general surgery.

Last week, board acting chief executive Mike Cummins said the board had spent $436,500 on medical specialist locums at Wairau Hospital since July 2012.


Surgery offered at Wairau Hospital, base hospital and surgeons employed (The numbers do not represent fulltime positions).

Orthopaedic surgery, Wairau, 4

Obstetrics and gynaecology, Wairau, 3

General surgery, Wairau, 3

Ophthalmology, Wairau, 1

Urology, dental and ear, nose and throat, Nelson Paediatric, Christchurch


The Marlborough Express