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The board of Waitaki District Health Services, the Waitaki District Council-controlled company that owns and operates the hospital, began its review in June.
The layout review was included in a clinically-led review of services and infrastructure at the hospital, which was carried out in conjunction with the Southern District Health Board last year.
The review aimed to ensure patients got the services they needed in a safe, responsive and timely manner by using resources efficiently, effectively and sustainably.
Almost three months in, Waitaki District Health Services chairman Chris Swann said a clearer picture of how the hospital might operate in the future had started to emerge.
As an example, Mr Swann said the hospital's emergency department and high dependency unit not only needed to be in close proximity to each other, but also run efficiently.
With that in mind, he said examples of layouts of a ''multitude'' of hospitals, both larger and similar in size and with similar services to Oamaru's, were being closely looked at.
''We are involving and looking at all other models and how they operate in terms of not only the hospitals, but physically how they're laid out and how they work. We're getting quite a number of perspectives on it, because it's quite an important decision for the next period of time. Once you've got it laid out, it's not easy to change.
''We've learned there's various ways to configure a hospital and that the physical configuration of the hospital can have a big impact on how effectively and efficiently it can run. It's an integral part of running a hospital.''
Mr Swann said Oamaru Hospital's present layout was ''not the most effective configuration''. ''There will be some changes that will be advantageous changes, so it's just part of developing the hospital further ... there are areas we can improve on.''
The review, likely to be completed in about two months, would include input from senior management and staff before being put to the board, which would then approve any changes and put a plan in place to implement them.
-By Daniel Birchfield