After-hours care may change

An artist's impression of the new Dunedin Hospital.
An artist's impression of the new Dunedin Hospital.

Dunedin's proposed new hospital may see changes in the way after hours medical care is provided in the city, the new chairman of the Dunedin Urgent Doctors and Accident Centre committee says.

While it was too early to say what, if any, changes the opening of the new hospital - scheduled for 2026 - might bring, discussions were already under way, Dr Phil White said.

''We have already started talking to the PHO and DHB about how we are going to fit in.

''That has to take place while the building is still being designed, to see how much can be put out in to the community, and we are talking about where urgent doctors will fit in to that - particularly during the daylight hours.

''It's all very positive at the moment,'' he said.

Dr White is replacing Dr Kim Ma'ia'i, the departing director of Student Health at the University of Otago, as chairman of the committee.

The centre's after hours clinic recently moved to Filleul St, and the change to fresh surrounds was welcome and seemed to have gone smoothly, Dr White said.

''Our numbers have not decreased since we moved, and anecdotally we have had some very busy after hours shifts since we moved,'' he said.

''I think people are now well aware of where it is, and we are very pleased with the building itself . . . we had been aware we had to move from the old building for some years, so the funds were looking towards the new building rather than looking after the old building.''

The centre also faced possible changes to the way it worked as a result of the Southern DHB and WellSouth launching a new primary care strategy,

With new hubbed services - ''health care homes'' - intended to provide services for more hours in the day, that might result in changes to the current after hours system, Dr White said.

''We're not sure how that will affect us, but above that they are talking about community health hubs, where services that wouldn't necessarily be based in every GP but which would be used in the community would be based.

''There could be a role for after hours doctors in providing those.''

The service was also awaiting details of last week's Budget announcement regarding lower GPs fees, and how that might affect its business, Dr White said.

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