Vanessa van Uden
Queenstown's health watchdog is still working towards a
CT scanner, or similar non-invasive diagnostic equipment, being
installed for Wakatipu patients, but is waiting for the
Southern District Health Board (SDHB) to develop the hospital
into a health campus.
Chairwoman Vanessa van Uden, also Queenstown Lakes Mayor,
said yesterday the Wakatipu Health Reference Group had been
working with the SDHB in terms of the whole campus
development of Lakes District Hospital, Frankton, and the
opportunities for different diagnostic services within.
''They're still working through the process of what actually
happens on the site,'' Ms van Uden said.
''There's nothing more concrete to add at the moment. We're
keeping the pressure on.''
The chairwoman confirmed securing a diagnostic service for
the district remained a focus for the reference group.
Members are aware of the success of the computerised
tomography scanner in Dunstan Hospital, Clyde.
''It's really good having something that close for our people
in the Wakatipu as well,'' she said.
''Lots of people have been saved the travel time by being
able to go down there and use it, so it's really great.
''We're an hour away from Dunstan, so we want to ...
get something that augments the service, as opposed to doing
something the same all over again.''
How funding for a Wakatipu diagnostic service would be
arranged would depend on the partnerships the SDHB formed for
the campus development. An SDHB spokesperson was unavailable
for comment yesterday.
While more services had been introduced in Lakes District
Hospital in the two years since the troubleshooting National
Health Board (NHB) expert panel published its
''Recommendations to the Southern District Health Board for
sustainable health services for the people of the Wakatipu
Basin'', Ms van Uden said the reference group was still
engaged with the SDHB to deliver as many of the
recommendations as possible.
After months of community, medical and health consultation in
the Wakatipu, the NHB panel, chaired by the late Dr Peter
Foley, of Napier, recommended the SDHB ''supports the
establishment of a CT scanner for the Central Otago region,
located at Lakes District Hospital.''
This caused controversy two years ago as Dunstan supporters
were working to secure a CT scanner for their hospital.
The CT scanner began operating at Dunstan Hospital in June
after the Central Otago community raised $1.4 million for the
scanner and the suite. It has halved the number of patients
making ambulance trips between Dunstan and Dunedin hospitals.
The scanner has been operating three days a week, handling 20
to 25 patients each week, but from next month that would
increase to five days a week.