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Much of the initial work developing shared health services across the new Southern District Health Board has been completed and, now, it is time for the " hard yards", Vivian Blake says.
Mrs Blake, who is part of the executive team working on the development, said the "one service, many sites" strategy had been revised to focus on clinical leadership, clinical delivery and patient outcomes.
Preliminary work had shown that 24 services already had a common set of rules for access in both Otago and Southland.
These ranged from bariatric surgery and breast screening to coronary care, neurosurgery and services for the intellectually disabled.
Work was also under way to develop common access criteria in endocrinology, gastroenterology and rheumatology.
Preliminary discussions on how another 10 services, including audiology, general surgery, orthopaedics and older people's health, could join the programme were expected to start soon.
Mrs Blake said she had been surprised at the amount that had already been achieved when the stock-take of services was done.
Committee chairman Paul Menzies said it seemed to be a natural progression to some degree, and that "capturing the hearts and minds" of people had occurred better in some areas than others.
Mrs Blake said it was important that clinicians and leading staff got around the table to work through the issues.