Mayor calls for earlier health proposal meeting

Gary Kircher
Gary Kircher
Waitaki Mayor Gary Kircher is pushing for a third community meeting on Oamaru Hospital to be brought forward from early March to as soon as this week.

However, as of yesterday afternoon it was yet to be confirmed that that would happen, as it was "looking problematic to get the people there that needed to be there'', he told the Otago Daily Times.

Mr Kircher first suggested next month's meeting, that had already been brought forward from late to early March, be advanced further forward while speaking at an at-times heated public meeting organised by Dr Janice Clayton at the Scottish Hall on Friday.

That meeting was organised by Dr Clayton in response to the public unrest about a Waitaki District Health Services proposal to restructure the hospital.

Mr Kircher said he hoped the community meeting could be held well before the consultation period with staff affected by the proposal ended on March 11.

While he accepted the Waitaki District Council-owned company that operates the hospital was not able to speak publicly about specific staff affected by the restructuring, he said it could be more forthcoming in other aspects of the proposal, including clinical safety, the hospital's physical layout and financial matters.

"It's a very good opportunity to possibly share at least the general vision of what they are aiming to do, which is build a strong foundation towards building better hospital services.

"They should have shared this very good vision for the hospital quite a long time ago. It's a case of them putting it out there and if there's a better understanding by the public, that would be very helpful. I would certainly encourage them to say as much as they can within the limits of the legal responsibilities that they have.''

It would also allow staff to put forward more constructive feedback as part of the consultation period.

"The more informed people are feeding into that, the better.''


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