A new after-hours medical centre at Nelson Hospital shows foresight, Prime Minister John Key says.
As part of a flying visit to the region, Mr Key visited the hospital yesterday afternoon to open the new $1 million Medical and Injury building next to the hospital's Emergency Department.
The building will provide after-hours healthcare, easing the strain on the Emergency Department, as well as space for the hospital's orthopaedic team.
Nelson Marlborough District Health Board chief executive John Peters said the after-hours system in Nelson had always been impressive, with multiple practices working together to share the load and provide after-hours care as well as cater to those from out of town.
Eventually the new building would house the full orthopaedic team, with after-hours care moving to another building, which would also house a medical education centre and a nursing school. The building satisfied a range of immediate and ongoing goals, he said.
Mr Key said the development showed a lot of foresight.
"If we can treat people in the after-hours facility then it's both more efficient and cheaper than having to admit them to hospital."
Nelson MP Nick Smith said the level of co-operation between the health services made such integration possible, which was great for the region's people.
He also paid tribute to Mr Peters, who steps down next month, saying he had done a superb job over the past eight years.
"Nothing is as challenging as managing health services, particularly during the last five years when the Government has been under fiscal pressure," Dr Smith said.
He presented Mr Peters with a bottle of the PM's Pinot, a wine produced by Mr Key, and a Nelson cookbook.
Mr Key told Mr Peters that bottles of wine had previously been auctioned for as much as $52,000, after the Christchurch earthquake, so he could now choose whether he kept it or drank it.
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