Hos­pi­tal sac­ri­fices ser­vices to re­tain acute in­pa­tient ca­pac­ity

Central Otago Mirror - - WANAKA NEWS - By MAR­JORIE COOK

A $200,000 bud­get cut for Dun­stan Hos­pi­tal pro­vides a one-year mora­to­rium on changes to out­pa­tient ser­vices and gives the hos­pi­tal board time to re­think its dis­trict health board con­tracts.

The hos­pi­tal board struck an agree­ment last week with the be­lea­guered South­ern Dis­trict Health Board and this week re­leased more de­tails.

Dun­stan board gen­eral man­ager Karyn Penno and chair­man Rus­sell McGe­orge said it was a ‘‘huge re­lief’’ there would be no changes to out­pa­tient ser­vices for now.

They ex­pressed grat­i­tude for staff sac­ri­fices and com­mu­nity sup­port that had al­lowed the board to buy time to work on a new con­tract­ing model.

They have also stressed that while there would not be the dras­tic re­duc­tions they had feared, sig­nif­i­cant sav­ings would still be needed.

The $200,000 fund­ing cut (2 per cent) is for the 2015/16 year.

Ini­tially, the dis­trict health board had wanted to carve about $1 mil­lion from Dun­stan’s bud­get (5 per cent) as part of an across-the-re­gion at­tempt to rein a pro­jected $42m deficit.

Hun­dreds of irked hos­pi­tal sup­port­ers turned up to public meet­ings through­out Cen­tral Otago and more than 7500 signed a pe­ti­tion to the Min­is­ter of Health.

Hos­pi­tal staff, fac­ing the prospect of re­duced bed num­bers and pos­si­ble job losses, are bat­tling to keep their morale up.

Staff re­leased a video on You Tube on Mon­day of a lip-sync song and dance rou­tine ex­plain­ing their dilemma and re­as­sur­ing pa­tients they are still there for them.

The hos­pi­tal board has con­firmed ex­ist­ing dis­trict health board con­tracts would roll over for 12 months and there would be no change to Dun­stan Hos­pi­tal’s out­pa­tient clin­ics or fund­ing, re­gard­less of the out­come of the out­pa­tient ser­vices re­view.

An en­tirely new con­tract ap­proach would be adopted for 2016/17, which would in­clude an an­nual con­tri­bu­tion from the dis­trict health board to in­fla­tion­ary pres­sures and recog­ni­tion of Dun­stan’s pop­u­la­tion growth in the fund­ing con­tract.

Penno said both par­ties had com­pro­mised dur­ing the ‘‘dif­fi­cult ne­go­ti­a­tion’’.

‘‘[That] means there is a mix­ture of good and not-so-good in our agree­ment. It is re­ally dis­ap­point­ing that we weren’t able to se­cure fund­ing for the in­creas­ing de­mand for health ser­vices in our re­gion. The fund­ing re­duc­tion of $200,000 for this year is less than the SDHB wanted, but we didn’t want any re­duc­tion at all,’’ Penno said.

Penno con­firmed that com­mu­nity ser­vices, par­tic­u­larly phys­io­ther­apy and com­mu­nity ra­di­ol­ogy, had borne the brunt of re­duc­tions to ac­com­mo­date the fund­ing cut.

‘‘Our com­mu­nity has been very clear that keep­ing our acute in­pa­tient ca­pac­ity was an ab­so­lute pri­or­ity, and that is what we have fo­cused on,’’ she said.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.