Dean – Hopes commissioners will understand North Otago health needs

Waitaki news
Thursday, June 18, 2015

Waitaki MP Jacqui Dean said she was hopeful the appointment of commissioners to replace the Southern District Health Board would signal a new way of thinking for rural health in North Otago.

“I hope the commissioners will understand the needs of North Otago’s population and be ready to utilise the modern technologies that are on offer to ensure better rural health delivery.

“The health budget is growing year on year but is always limited, and the health dollar needs to be spent wisely. I’m hopeful that the appointment of these commissioners will signal a new approach to the way that our health dollars are spent in rural areas.

“I’d like to see some new thinking and the use of some new models in health service delivery.

“For example, let’s investigate whether the services local people travel to Dunedin to access couldn’t be effectively delivered at Oamaru Hospital for the same costs.

“In the future funding may need to be targeted at appropriately meeting the needs of families and elderly people in North Otago by delivering services closer to home.

“The visiting surgical bus is a unique way of delivering low risk elective day surgery services to patients in rural areas, without the need for accommodation, or long distance travel.

“Using this product could be the way of the future for North Otago and I hope that the new commissioners will positively consider it.”

Oamaru Hospital is a modern, purpose-built facility which services the Waitaki District of approximately 22,000 people, Mrs Dean said.