Talks begin on chopper service price rise

Last updated 13:00 30/01/2013

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The Nelson Marlborough District Health Board is in negotiations with Garden City Helicopters over a planned price hike in air ambulance services.

The Christchurch-based firm, which operates helicopter and fixed-wing aircraft services, submitted a schedule of increased prices last month, at which time the board met with the firm.

Both have agreed to review the current contract and a further meeting is planned.

Resource consent for the demolition of historic Dalton House has been approved, but is subject to an appeal period which closes tomorrow. If no appeal is received, final approval will be granted and the building will be knocked down.

Dalton House is in the Nelson Hospital grounds in Franklyn St and is listed as a category 2 building with the Historic Places Trust which earlier voiced its opposition to the demolition.

The financial result for December shows a net surplus of $609,000 which is $523,000 favourable to budget and $345,000 favourable to that forecast for the month, NMDHB corporate services general manager Nick Lanigan said in his financial report to board members.

The year to date result is a $1.1 million deficit which is $643,000 unfavourable to budget and $362,000 favourable to forecast.

Caseweights for December were 13 per cent over budget, acute procedures were 24 per cent over and electives were 7 per cent under.

As at January 7, there were 61 patients who had been waiting longer than five months for their first specialist assessment - up from 31 the previous month.

At the same time there were 50 patients waiting more than five months for surgical treatment - up from 27 the previous month, which reflects the Christmas-New Year shutdown period and will place the DHB under pressure to meet Elective Service Patient Flow Indicators compliance, interim chief executive Mike Cummins said in his report.

There were 64 patients (42 in Nelson and 22 in Wairau) whose surgical treatment was cancelled in December. Total year-to-date cancellations (financial year) are 402, with 287 in Nelson and 115 in Wairau.

Reasons ranged from the theatre list being overbooked to equipment/environmental failure, unwell patients, no beds available, emergency cases taking priority, patients cancelled, inadequate pre-operation preparation and operations no longer needed.

The board's health targets show that it sees and either admits or discharges 96.3 per cent of patients arriving at hospital emergency departments within the six-hour Ministry of Health guideline.

Faster cancer treatment waiting times have been introduced in general surgery departments, ear nose and throat and across all medical specialties.

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- The Nelson Mail

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