Join­ing with SC could be op­tion for hos­pi­tal

Waitaki Herald - - NEWS - By NI­COLA WOLFE

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.

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