Health report to be made on August 29

Peter Foley
Peter Foley
The National Health Board panel says it will unveil its recommendations on future health care in the Wakatipu in a public meeting on Monday, August 29.

Panel chairman Dr Peter Foley, of Napier, yesterday told the Otago Daily Times he would give a community presentation on the report of the Wakatipu health services expert panel, before it was formally lodged with the Southern District Health Board the following Friday.

The "substantive" report is more than 80 pages long and contains "major recommendations in every area" and more than 20 different "sub-recommendations".

The chairman said he felt it gave a plan, to be implemented over time, for a sustainable health service that would have the support of the community.

Dr Foley and panellists, consumer advocate David Russell and emergency physician Dr Angela Pitchford, with their support team, intended to meet five or six key health groups earlier on August 29, to give them a "heads-up" about the report, he said.

The report would not cure all ills in the Wakatipu health service, "but it will provide some certainty of what is expected by the NHB, and therefore the Government and by the Southern DHB, as to what will and won't happen".

"You will know for certain in terms of hospital services, in terms of a plan for the future, in terms of how the Wakatipu will work in the region covered by the Southern DHB."

He could not say yesterday if recommendations supported any particular models over others.

Asked if the DHB was obliged, or bound, to follow the report, or if it could be shelved, Dr Foley said: "That's a little bit of a grey area. They're not obliged to, per se, but as I've said publicly, we've worked with [the DHB] as well.

"The report is to them, but it should be done in a way that they would find it very difficult not to implement all the proposals over the right period of time.

"I'm sure you gain the impression that the NHB might be keen to assist them to achieve those outcomes."

Wakatipu residents would be able to give feedback to the DHB on the report, but it would not be altered once it was made public.



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