Southern DHB takes action
The Southern District Health Board has taken action to address a backlog of patients in its urology service by sending some of its Otago patients to be treated at Southland Hospital.
Southern DHB chief executive Chris Fleming said a project team had been developing an action plan to address issues in the urology department, but the team was also acting on immediate priorities.
This includes ensuring about 100 patients requiring prostate biopsies would be seen promptly, he said. ’’This means patients in South Otago and parts of Central Otago will be invited to appointments in Southland Hospital.’’
Last month, it was revealed 10 prostate cancer patients at Dunedin Hospital had to wait seven months for urgent surgery which was meant to be done within a month.
Labour health spokesman David Clark said the 10 patients were just the tip of the iceberg and hundreds more urology patients in the south were waiting for followup appointments but they were not deemed serious enough to be on the urgent list.
On Friday, Fleming said other steps now agreed on to address the issues at the urology department include recruiting an additional clinical nurse specialist to Dunedin Hospital and seeking locum consultants to cover for annual leave.
However, no decision has been made on the appointment of an additional permanent urologist, Fleming said.
Those patients requiring radical prostatectomy who were identified as having waited too long had had their surgeries.
‘‘There is now just one outstanding case, which was rescheduled for clinical reasons.’’
All outstanding cases, where wait times exceeded service expectations, were being reviewed and appointments, procedures and surgeries were being offered to those with greatest clinical need, he said.
In addition, actions to address further recommendations in an external review of the service were being developed, he said.
These include reviewing options for improving patient management processes, implementing new infection control measures to enable more efficient diagnostics, upgrading and reconfiguring the physical facilities and improving referral processes from primary care.
‘‘A team approach has been required to ensure we provide the service our community expects,’’ Fleming said.
Southern District Police are seeking sightings of Stephen Lowe. Lowe left work on Portsmouth Drive in Dunedin around 10am on Friday and has not been seen or heard from since. There are concerns for his welfare, and his family are anxious and worried as his disappearance was out of character. He is driving a black BMW hatchback, registration HHR892. Anyone who has seen or heard from Lowe, or knows where his car is, is urged to contact Dunedin police.
Crown Range opens
The Crown Range road has reopened following a large slip that closed the road between Queenstown and Wanaka. The slip, on the Queenstown side of the summit, blocked the road shortly after 11am on Friday. The road had been closed since while contractors cleared away debris. A Queenstown Lakes District Council spokesman said while the road was reopened yesterday afternoon, the forecast was for snow below summit level so motorists should carry chains. Wild weather struck Central Otago on Friday, ripping roofs off houses in Clyde and causing tornadoes.
Rippa Rugby championships
The Air New Zealand Rippa Rugby Championships are set to kick off in Wellington today. About 200 Rippa Rugby players from 20 schools throughout New Zealand will compete at the two-day championships. Teams from Hauroko Valley Primary School and Arrowtown School will represent Southland and Otago respectively at the event.
A 31-year-old man was arrested and charged with threatening to kill and assault. The man was expected to appear in the Gore District Court on September 27. In separate incidents, an 18-year-old man was charged with disorderly behaviour on Saturday at 6:30pm and a 26-year-old man was charged with assault on Sunday at 1.15am. Both men were expected to appear in the Invercargill District Court on September 21.