Locum at unit for year

A neurosurgeon has been hired for a year at Dunedin Hospital.

Deepa Soni, of the United States, last week signed for the fixed-term, surgery service manager Helen Williams said.

Ms Soni, who also worked at the hospital as a locum neurosurgeon for several months last year, joins permanent neurosurgeon Ahmad Taha, as the department prepares for its full complement to arrive during the next few months.

British neurosurgeon Reuben Johnson will arrive in August, and Prof Dirk De Ridder will start next February.

The pair, who would both have academic duties, could have vocational requirements in their first few months.

This meant having the extra neurosurgeon around could be useful, Ms Williams said.

However, if Ms Soni was offered a permanent appointment, she would be released from her duties early.

Ms Williams said the department was spending money on equipment and refurbishment for the first time for years. Because of the uncertainty around Dunedin neurosurgery, equipment was borrowed rather than purchased, and there had been very little service planning.

In the next few weeks, a fourth bed was being added to the high-dependency unit, which involved some rearrangement of the available space, Ms Williams said.

The Dunedin hub of the South Island service was functioning well, with a mix of short-term and long-term locums assisting until permanent appointments arrived.



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