Hundreds turn out for hospital open day

The Oamaru Hospital’s first community open day has been an invaluable experience, the Waitaki District Health Services chief executive says.

Phil Jamieson, who has been in the role a little more than 12 weeks, was blown away by the community’s response to its facility, as hundreds of people attended the event on Saturday.

Nurses set up stations testing people’s blood sugar, checking pulses, demonstrating how to correctly apply bandages and showing how many germs are left on people’s hands under a UV light.

The Stroke Foundation of New Zealand tested blood pressure, occupational therapists and physiotherapists demonstrated movement difficulties, and the Women’s Health Bus and Age Concern also provided information.

The Otago Regional Rescue Helicopter, St John and Fire and Emergency New Zealand were on site throughout the day, and the Pasifika community was represented.

Amiria Pakeha (4) tries out a St John ambulance bed. PHOTOS: KAYLA HODGE
Amiria Pakeha (4) tries out a St John ambulance bed. PHOTOS: KAYLA HODGE
Mr Jamieson said the day was about connecting and understanding the healthcare needs of the the North Otago community.

"It’s been invaluable for people to see their hospital, and for us it’s about meeting people because often people come in at a vulnerable point, and this is an opportunity to normalise the hospital," Mr Jamieson said.

The hospital was a large community asset and he was incredibly proud of the team behind it.

"We wouldn’t have a hospital without the community."

North Otago community stroke adviser Debbie Huls was "flat-out" all day testing blood pressure.

"It’s been really beneficial — people have really, really appreciated it," she said.

Women’s Health Bus nurse practitioner Emma Macfarlane said it was a great day out for "Betty the bus".

"I wasn’t really sure what to expect, but I’ve been pretty much busy talking to people since the start — I’ve loved being a part of it."

Pasifika healthcare assistant Uinta Tapaatoutai said the day was an important experience for her patents to see more of the hospital.

"They get to see what goes on behind closed doors — they get to see the other services for their community," Mrs Tapaatoutai said.

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