$6.5m for CT scanner anemergency department at Lakes District Hospital
More than $6 million will be injected into Lakes District Hospital to keep up with "young and stupid" patients in Queenstown's emergency department.
Southern District Health Board deputy commissioner Richard Thomson said a bigger emergency department was a priority for the hospital in Frankton.
Plans for a $6.5m upgrade to the emergency department and a diagnostic suite were announced on Thursday.
The hospital would still have 10 beds, Thomson said.
* Southern DHB to upgrade Queenstown's emergency department, retain ownership
* CT scanner by 2018 at Queenstown's Lakes District Hospital
* Southern DHB not making more "false starts" and avoids promises to Queenstown
"It's a different demographic. They don't need as many beds as [Clyde's] Dunstan Hospital."
Queenstown's occupancy rate was "low", on about 55 per cent, and had not changed in years.
Patients in the emergency department were mainly "young and stupid" people who did "silly things" after consuming alcohol, Thomson said.
Queenstown's 10-bed hospital had been "in limbo" for many years.
"A solution was needed for Lakes Hospital. There was a huge amount of angst from the community and annoyance from staff," Thomson said.
Adding a CT scanner, an ultrasound and an X-ray to the diagnostic department would decrease the number of people having to be transferred to Invercargill or Dunedin hospitals.
Lakes District Hospital operational manager Janeen Holmes said more than 10,000 patients came though the seven-bed emergency department this year.
She said the upgrade would allow for better patient flow.
"It's extremely positive and it will be good to have a CT scanner too," she said
The board was yet to lodge consents to Queenstown Lakes District Council, but construction work would start in the second half of 2018 with the emergency department being built first, Thomson said.
The project was not a "one off" and would be followed by further developments of the hospital, he said.
The Lakes District Hospital Foundation was also launched on Thursday to support the hospital to go "beyond its needs".
The foundation's chairwoman, Jayne Macdonald, said the community was working with Central Lakes Trust to satisfy community needs.
A whānau room would be build in the hospital using an $80,000 donation from the Adept McTodd Trust.
Family members currently had to share rooms with patients.