Hospital service growth needed 'at some time'

Kathryn de Luc
Kathryn de Luc
Services at Dunstan Hospital will have to be expanded "at some point'' to cope with strong growth in the region, Central Otago Health Service Ltd's new general manager says.

But Kathryn de Luc says it is not possible to say when that will happen, and the expansion may not necessarily be in Dunstan's ward.

"It might be about more beds in our ward, but it might also be about expanding our assessment unit, or our outpatients department ... It isn't all about bricks and mortar. It's about staff and relationships [within the health sector].''

Dr de Luc, who became the company's chief executive last month, said she favoured greater integration of services in the health sector generally, and would look at what additional integration could be done with services at Dunstan.

She said Dunstan already delivered "excellent'' service and had an excellent reputation nationally.

"Nationally, it's recognised as one of, if not the, leader in delivering rural medicine.''

Dr de Luc, who moved to New Zealand from the United Kingdom in 2002, was previously a general manager at the Counties Manukau District Health Board, in South Auckland, since 2014.

Her role there included being general manager of the Franklin locality, where she led the strategic development of the integrated model of care between primary, community and secondary health services.

She also led the development of community hubs within Counties Manukau, and before that worked for the Northland District Health Board.

Dr de Luc said one of the most valuable things about the size and philosophy of Dunstan Hospital was its flexibility.

The other was "absolutely the community support'' Dunstan had.

She said her first significant role at Dunstan had been as part of the combined response that has seen an after-hours healthcare system set up at Dunstan. It was a credit to those who had set it up, she said.

Dr de Luc said she was looking forward to meeting more of the GPs and other stakeholders in Central Otago's health sector, and also to seeing if Dunstan's outpatient specialists' service and telemedicine could be further enhanced.


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