Employing suitably qualified audiology staff has been the
most important factor in ''significant'' improvements to
Dunedin Hospital's audiology service, a review released by
Southern District Health Board under the Official Information
Ordered by Deputy Health and Disability Commissioner Theo
Baker, the review in August by Auckland District Health Board
audiology professional leader Dr Andrea Kelly followed two
highly critical findings about the standard of care given to
Contacted last Friday, a health and disability office
spokesman said it was still considering whether to take
further legal action against the board and/or the former
In each case, both were found to have breached the patient
rights code, the health board vicariously through failing to
support the audiologist.
Dr Kelly's report said the board now employed suitably
qualified staff to conduct infant hearing tests and fit
infant hearing aids.
''Additionally, the facilities at Dunedin have been
substantially upgraded to a level that should comply with
standards set for audiological testing and the universal
newborn hearing screening and early intervention programme.
''The service and facilities offered at the Dunedin site
would now be comparable to or higher than many DHB clinics in
Appointments were now within acceptable timeframes, in both
Dunedin and Invercargill.
At present, all infant hearing aid work was carried out in
Dunedin, where the three audiologists were based.
Clinics were conducted fortnightly in Invercargill, and Dr
Kelly recommended a review be carried out to ensure the
service was equal across Otago and Southland.
She also recommended staff succession planning should start.
The health and disability reports examined two complaints
about the then sole-charge audiologist, Mr B, who worked in
Dunedin from the late 1980s to 2010.
The board said the issues arose chiefly because he was not a
member of the New Zealand Audiological Society.