Surgeries postponed at DHB
Patients have been forced to wait for beds, and more surgeries have been postponed at a full Southland Hospital.
Southern District Health Board senior staffer Heather Casey said more than 10 patients had to wait at the hospital for beds overnight on Sunday because all the available beds were full.
The patients continued to be assessed and monitored during the night, ‘‘but we appreciate this was less than ideal for those affected’’, she said.
Four non-urgent surgeries were subsequently postponed at the hospital on Monday to assist with managing the need for beds.
Casey apologised for any incon- venience this has may have caused to patients and thanked staff for their continued efforts during the ‘‘busy time’’.
Southland Hospital was experiencing high patient demand which was not unexpected over the winter months, Casey said.
The emergency department had increased its staffing levels for the winter period to manage the influx of patients.
In addition, two fulltime nurses were brought down from Tauranga for three weeks in April and May to support the surgical ward.
This was to ensure roster cover while the hospital was waiting for newly recruited nurses to begin, she said.
Jobs had been offered to three casual nurses and one had already started work, with the remaining two to begin within two weeks.
The SDHB is about to advertise for a further registered nurse position, she said.
The staffing levels and pressure being put on nurses at Southland Hospital has been in the spotlight in recent weeks.
Casey said two nurses in the medical ward and two in the maternity unit worked 12-hour shifts on Friday.
Last week, the SDHB said patient beds at Southland Hospital had been beyond 100 per cent capacity at times this winter, with some patients having to wait longer for surgery as a result.
When the hospital was full, patients waited longer in the emergency department and as outpatients before being admitted to beds.
Or, or they waited longer for surgery.
Elective surgeries sometimes had to be postponed at times of ‘‘high acute demand’’, she said.
The nurses’ union Southland organiser Lorraine Lobb said last week the union had concerns about the number of nurse vacancies at Southland Hospital and had raised them with the Southern DHB.
‘‘The DHB informs us that they are currently advertising but are finding it difficult to attract experienced theatre nurses to Invercargill.’’
Casey said Southland Hospital provided safe and effective care with highly skilled staff,
‘‘All vacancies have been actively recruited into ... we continue to actively recruit.’’
Alliance Group is spending $3.4 million in new processing technology to improve health and safety. Fortynine band saws have been put into eight plants across the country. Alliance also expects to spend more than $2m in phase two of the programme. The technology has been rolled out at eight plants including Makarewa, Mataura and Lorneville.
Nominations have opened for the 2017 Southland Community Environment Awards. The annual awards recognise achievements of special significance that benefit Southland’s environment. Judges are looking for people and projects that enhance, protect and showcase Southland’s environment. The seven different award categories are individual, farming, school, community group, commercial, innovator and achiever. Winning entries receive sponsored prizes that include cash, travel, native plants or financial services. Award nominations close on August 18 and the 2017 winners will be announced at a celebration night in Invercargill on November 1.
Gas leak false alarm
Three fire crews were called to a supposed gas leak on Leet St yesterday. A Fire and Emergency New Zealand communications spokesman said at 1.50pm the service received reports of the smell of gas inside the building. Three crews attended and investigated the property, which was on Leet St, in the commercial area between Dee and Kelvin St. The smell of gas appeared to have dissipated by the time crews arrived, he said. A gas detector was used to search the area. The smell could have been caused by sewerage or leaking gas pipes, he said. The incident was later reported as a false alarm. Two crews from Invercargill and one from Kingswell attended.
Housing public meeting
Labour Party candidate for Invercargill Liz Craig is holding a public meeting on housing on Wednesday evening. With Labour housing spokesperson Phil Twyford, Craig will discuss cold damp rentals and social housing. The meeting will be held at the Newfield Tavern, Centre St, Invercargill and starts at 7pm.
Seniors public meeting
National Party Invercargill MP Sarah Dowie is holding a public meeting for seniors on Friday afternoon. Dowie would be joined by Hon Maggie Barry. The meeting will be held at 36 Kelvin St and starts at 2pm.
Business wins gold
Stonewood Homes Southland won a gold award in the Nulook New Home $700,000 to $1m category in this year’s House of the Year Awards. The award-winning 420 sqm family homestead was built with a specific design brief: it needed to be a functional farm house with all the mod-cons combining with a very classy look. Stonewood Homes Southland, owners Brendan and Rochelle Akeroyd’s winning home was just one of more than 370 homes nominated in the Registered Master Builders 2017 House of the Year Awards, a competition that showcases the best examples of quality craftsmanship and design.
The Balclutha Centennial Pool will be closed from Monday for annual maintenance. The pool is expected to reopen on August 9.