Waitaki MP Jacqui Dean says she understands the fear and apprehension within the community following the announcement of a proposed organisational restructure by the Waitaki District Health Services this week.
“I have worked closely and supported Oamaru Hospital throughout my time as an MP for the Waitaki. I have had discussions with hospital management and while any restructure brings uncertainty, I am confident with their long-term vision for our hospital.
Ms Dean says I have the utmost respect and empathy for the loyal and dedicated hospital staff who may be facing the prospect of job losses or the challenge of upskilling.
“With 10 hospital positions affected throughout the nursing, admin, orderly, occupational therapy and cleaning staff I have no doubt the hospital’s ‘Proposal for Change’ has caused ripples of discontent across Oamaru.
“If there is one thing I have learnt throughout my time in this role, is that there is little else which stirs up passion and angst amongst Oamaruviens as an apparent threat to our local hospital and medical services.
“And I am with you on this. There is nothing more important than retaining our hospital – rumour or assumptions around hospital closures are just that. From my understanding this proposal is a way for hospital management to re-boot services so they can provide the very best care that our townsfolk deserve.
Ms Dean says its intended that the proposed full reorganisation of current services, along with altering the physical layout of the hospital will enable medical teams to work more effectively and efficiently.
“I have visited The Balclutha and Dunstan Hospitals which are run under the same model management is proposing to adapt here, giving me confidence that a restructure can work.
Ms Dean says while the re-structure is set to save 1.5 million dollars a year for the hospital. More funding is needed.
“During the Election the Labour party campaigned and promised an extra billion dollars for Health in New Zealand. This is obviously yet to be seen, driving rural hospitals and health services to tighten belts and run as efficiently as possible.
“I will continue to hold Health Minister David Clark to account, for these missing funds and broken promises.
The Consultation period ends on the 11th of March. A final decision on the hospital restructure will be made on the 8th of April.