Surgical review is 'good news'

HEATHER SIMPSON
Last updated 09:46 28/05/2014
DHB
FUTURE UNCLEAR: The district health board has remained tight-lipped about the contents of an independent review into surgical services in Nelson and Marlborough. The report was discussed with board members at their monthly meeting at Wairau Hospital yesterday

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The Nelson and Marlborough District Health Board has not yet made public whether their board members approved the recommendations of an independent review into surgical services in Nelson and Marlborough.

But National Party candidate Stuart Smith, who has read the top of the south service review, said the document's recommendations were "good news for Marlborough".

The highly anticipated review centred on the fundamental principle of "one service-two sites", and the board's commitment to 24/7 acute and elective surgery in both Nelson and Blenheim.

A team of clinicians, including a Bay of Plenty orthopaedic surgeon and a physician and surgeon from Southland and Hawke's Bay, looked at the future delivery of general surgical services and the appropriate scope of general surgery able to be provided at Wairau Hospital, in Blenheim.

The board has remained tight-lipped about the contents of the report, which was discussed with board members at their monthly meeting at the hospital in Blenheim yesterday.

During a closed section of the meeting, board members met with the review chairman, Bay of Plenty orthopaedic surgeon Bryan Thorn. Prior to the meeting, board chief executive Chris Fleming said the report had broad support clinically and the support from the reference group of Nelson and Marlborough clinicians and community representatives who held talks with the review team.

Fleming said the review was centred around the evolution of surgical services.

The top of the south service review was prompted following public outcry over board plans to review general and orthopaedic surgery services at Wairau Hospital in Blenheim.

Save Our Services campaign in Blenheim held a highly charged public meeting and sent a petition to Health Minister Tony Ryall.

Bowing to community concern, the district health board promised not to cut round-the-clock acute services at Wairau, and also to set up the top of the south service review to help find solutions to the region's service provision.

Smith, who helped spearhead Save Our Services, said yesterday he had read the report and was comfortable with its recommendations. He said he was unable to comment on the specific details of the review until the report was made public. "The review is good news for Marlborough," Smith said. "It was a comprehensive review and I have a lot of confidence in the panel of independent clinicians. Their skill set and [the] balance they showed assured me.

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"Before the review was carried we received the assurance that 24/7 acute and orthopaedic surgery would remain at Wairau Hospital. The review's recommendations look at how the board will manage that.

"When the review is made public I hope the board ensures the recommendations are followed through. The recommendations ensures things are onward and upward for surgical patients in Marlborough."

After the contents of the review were approved by the board, it would host public meetings on the review's recommendations. The board has yet to provide a timeline of when these meetings would take place.

- The Marlborough Express

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