Joining with SC could be option for hospital
Waitaki District Mayor Gary Kircher said the council would consider moving to the South Canterbury District Health Board (SDHB) if proposed funding cuts affecting Oamaru Hospital went ahead.
The idea is one of a number of options the Waitaki District Council is considering following the announcement from the Southern District Health Board last week.
The council would also consider other options such as protesting the cuts and taking the issue to central government.
However, he said moving to the SCDB would not solve all Oamaru Hospital problems. He said people would still need to attend Dunedin or Christchurch for some services.
The proposal would see a 5 per cent funding cut to rural health services including substantially reduced emergency department visits, shorter hours and charging for some services, fewer assessment, treatment and rehabilitation beds, fewer rural inpatient bed days, no more free field eye tests or minor operations, possible cancellation of radiology services and job losses. Kircher said he believed the proposal was brought forth due to problems with efficiencies at Dunedin Hospital and rural hospitals were unfairly taking the wrap.
‘‘Asking us to make cuts when we are already running efficiently because Dunedin cannot run efficiently. We should be getting more.’’
He said any change would take a considerable amount of time to put in place and would follow consultation with the community.
Oamaru sportswoman Emma Paton was the recipient of a Youth With Disability Award at the Youth Week Awards Ceremony held in Wellington. Emma gave a speech on behalf of the award recipients in her category. The awards recognised 40 individuals and organisations in eight categories. Emma received the award for her work with deaf youth in Otago. Emma also got to spend time with Waitaki MP Jacqui Dean. Emma with the Hon Nikki Kaye, Minister for Youth, at the Youth Week Awards held at Parliament on May 26.
The Oamaru public hospital is facing a 5 per cent funding cut following an announcement last week from the Southern District Health Board.