Group to help steer hospital review
A reference group has been set up to help steer the independent clinicians leading a review of hospital services in the top of the south towards a suitable "one service, two sites" solution.
The group consists of four community representatives from Marlborough and three from Nelson.
It also has a GP and an emergency department doctor from each region - Andrew Morgan at Wairau Hospital, in Blenheim, and Clive Garlick, from Nelson.
Nelson Marlborough District Health Board chief executive Chris Fleming announced the makeup of the reference group at a board meeting in Blenheim yesterday.
Mr Fleming said he would tell board members the names of the community representatives during the closed session of the meeting.
He wanted to check with the group before he revealed their names to the public.
The 11-strong group will meet for the first time on Wednesday next week.
The purpose of that meeting was to introduce and share the approach and initial thoughts of the review process, Mr Fleming said.
The group was not a public meeting, he said.
"It is vital that we are able to discuss and share ideas between the reference group and the reviewers [lead clinicians] without risk of it being misinterpreted or misreported to the media. The reviewers may well take ideas to the reference group that turn out to be unpalatable and as such the ideas go no further," he said.
"If all parties are seriously committed to finding the best solution for the Top of the South, participants have to fully engage in the process."
He would be reinforcing with those involved that the group was not a substitute for community consultation which would be held once ideas had "crystallised into a form that makes sense", Mr Fleming said.
Community consultation was planned for November.
Save Our Services campaigner and health board candidate Jessica Bagge attended the board meeting yesterday.
Ms Bagge said it was crucial that the group's community representatives were named.
That would give the review some credibility and a degree of transparency, she said.
However, Ms Bagge agreed that the clinicians needed to be able to trust the group with their suggestions.
"They are going to be in a very confidential environment so the review team can bounce ideas off them," she said.
"We won't know what goes on in there so we have to trust them [the reference group]. They have got to be named and I'm sure they will be."
Earlier this month, review chairman Bryan Thorn, who heads the orthopaedics work stream and is lead clinician for general surgery, had meetings with surgeons involved in these areas at Wairau and Nelson hospitals.
They were expected to visit Wairau Hospital again next week for more in-depth discussions and staff meetings.
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