Letters : Growth figures

Last updated 14:25 31/10/2012

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Letters to the editor

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Hospital spending

Concerns have recently been raised through your paper regarding the cost of locums at Wairau Hospital and an alternative manner in which that money could be used.

Locums are engaged for a range of reasons and a range of services, the most frequent requirement being to ensure the ongoing provision of a service.

From July 1, 2011, to June 20, 2012, the Nelson Marlborough District Health Board used 102 short-term locums at a cost of $2,142,000. Of those, 56 were at Wairau Hospital.

The use of a locum while an investigation is under way ensures the ongoing provision of a service and meets the obligations that NMDHB has to staff under employment law. It would face severe penalties if due process was not followed.

As for alternative uses of the funding, NMDHB has obligations to the community as a whole. While every effort is made to accommodate patients close to home, it must balance the delivery of specialist services, such as specialised hospital dementia care across the district.

Where numbers are small or the service requires skilled staff and or specialised facilities, there will always be the need to travel.

The provision of most residential services is contracted to community-based providers. Specialised hospital dementia care requires significant investment in facilities and trained staff.

NMDHB is open to discussions with Marlborough providers on the provision of a viable high level unit.

Financial thresholds determining the eligibility of patients in residential care to subsidised funding are set by government.

MIKE CUMMINS

Board secretary

Nelson Marlborough District Health Board

Growth figures

I note with interest the statistics around our population growth ["Marlborough residents older", Express, October 25]. Please could someone explain to me where the figures come from.

As we have not had a census since 2006, how does anyone know the age of residents here? We do not have passport control at the ferry terminal or on State Highway 1 so no-one can say for sure who lives here, how many and what age.

Births recorded here may have moved out of the area, babies born in Wellington could have moved in to Blenheim soon after. I could name numerous other examples, so please where does the information come from? Electricity accounts? Phone records? Births, deaths and marriages? Motor vehicle information?

I am fascinated. I am looking forward to the census next year, as I believe Marlborough has grown a lot in the last few years and I look forward to seeing if I am right. Of course this does rely on people filling out the forms honestly. I am hoping for no jedi knights on the census so the powers that be can accurately provide services for the population.

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JULIE BERRIMAN

Blenheim

- The Marlborough Express

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