New patient vehicle
Patients will soon be able to be transported from Dunstan Hospital to Dunedin Hospital in a new Mercedes Sprinter thanks to a grant of $64,864 from Central Lakes Trust.
Clinical director of Central Otago Health Services Limited Rob Visser said that if the hospital did no operate the service it would have to rely on St John for standard transfers, ‘‘thereby reducing availability of emergency ambulances in the region for 111 responses at a time when emergency call-outs are increasing’’.
A return trip took an ambulance, crew and a nurse away from the hospital for up to 10 hours.
The current vehicle was initially introduced as a trial in May 2012 and has transported patients mainly to Dunedin, but also to Invercargill, Christchurch and Timaru. The service has reduced waiting times, transfer costs and increased patient options. It also serves as an emergency back-up for Lakes District Hospital in Frankton if it is unable to arrange an urgent transfer.
It is estimated 120 – 150 patient transfers per year will be transported by the new vehicle.
This grant was one of 12 grants approved by the Trust totalling $371,334 at its latest funding round.