Patient transfers crux of forum

Ruth Kibble
Ruth Kibble
Patient transfers and the relationship Waitaki District Health Services has with parties involved in the process will be the focus of a community health forum in Oamaru on Monday.

The Waitaki District Council-owned company that owns and operates Oamaru Hospital will host the forum, where representatives from the company, the Southern District Health Board, St John and Helicopters Otago will all give presentations at the Brydone Hotel.

In addition to the patient transfer system other matters will be discussed at the forum, which is open to the public.

Waitaki District Health Services chief executive Ruth Kibble declined to answer questions put to her by the Otago Daily Times about what was to be discussed specifically on the subject of patient transfers.

However, she said the public would benefit from the forum.

"We would prefer that we get the opportunity to respond to these in the session which aims to provide interesting information for community members around how current services work collaboratively to ensure that patients get treated in the right place, at the right time ... we are inviting persons from the relevant services to attend and be available to answer questions."

It is the first public forum to be held by the company since a series of four community meetings at the Oamaru Opera House in March.

Those meetings were staged in response to the public outcry generated by the restructure at Oamaru Hospital, which was revealed publicly when the ODT obtained a copy of a confidential "proposal of change" document distributed to staff that included a proposed staffing restructure and the reconfiguration of the hospital's layout to increase efficiency.

The forum is being held from 7pm to 8pm in the Moeraki and Lindis rooms at the hotel.

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