The public needs to know when ''huge'' waiting times for
routine scans at Dunedin Hospital will be fixed, Southern
District Health Board member Richard Thomson told the hospital
advisory committee this week.
Mr Thomson said neither the committee, nor the public, had a
timeline for when the problem would be fixed, and how it
''These are procedures that across the ditch [in Australia]
would happen overnight,'' he said.
He emphasised his comments were not to be taken as criticism
of staff, who were working hard.
What was clear was that southern patients had to get used to
travelling to other hospitals for scans, and that meant
Dunedin people, as well as those in places such as Central
Otago, he said.
A report to the meeting, in Dunedin, shows patients are
waiting 40 weeks for a CT scan at Dunedin Hospital, and 35
weeks for routine MRI, and there is a large unscheduled
waiting list for the procedures.
The board has been trying to address the problem for about
the past two years, and last month launched a new ''programme
for change'' to tackle it.
Patient services executive director Lexie O'Shea said the
Dunedin Hospital radiology situation was not new, and there
was no quick fix. The review would take 12 months, although
she expected to see improvements sooner. As yet, the board
still did not understand the problems preventing timely
scans, and it was important to determine those first.
Earlier this week, Oamaru Hospital general manager Robert
Gonzales told the Otago Daily Times the hospital's CT scanner
was working at about 35% capacity, and could scan patients
from outside Waitaki if the board required.
The hospital has just signed an agreement with the health
board to scan more Oamaru area patients, from this month.
The health board's elective surgery discharges are 3% below
its plan for the six months to the end of December, the