Meeting 'integral' in helping board

Discussions in Queenstown last week on the proposed Lakes District's integrated family healthcare centre were "undoubtedly ... tense at times", but integral in helping the Southern District Health Board (DHB), chief executive Brian Rousseau said yesterday.

More than 400 members of the community attended the presentation at Frankton's City Impact Church on Wednesday night to hear an update on the proposed centre and share their views with the DHB.

Mr Rousseau, who gave a status update presentation and then answered questions, said the meeting was important for the DHB to understand the views of the community, for all parties to share knowledge and "dispel any misconceptions".

"Most importantly, all parties began to engage with one another.

"The DHB is committed to ensuring this continues to happen and we will work with all parties to make sure we achieve what we all want - the best possible health service that meets the unique needs of the Wakatipu community."

Mr Rousseau said he would continue to keep the public fully informed on progress of the DHB's proposal and answer any questions the community had.

"For instance, many community members remain concerned how an integrated family health centre or a change from the current structure/staffing numbers at Lakes District Hospital could cope with the needs of 9000 tourists who visit the region on any given day.

"Especially on top of serving the needs of the resident population of approximately 17,000 people.

"We acknowledge that Queenstown and the Lakes District area see a large number of tourists, but the reality is these numbers do not have a great deal of impact on Lakes District Hospital (LDH) services.

"For example, in the 2009-10 financial year, out of 6461 attendances to LDH's emergency department, only 927 (14.3%) were foreign tourists.

"The number of admissions to LDH over the same period was 918, of which only 170 (18.5%) were foreign visitors."

Mr Rousseau said progress was continuing "on the way forward".

"A small committee has been formed to help the DHB identify ways of achieving cost savings at Lakes District Hospital without reducing current staffing levels.

"We are also continuing to work with Mayor Vanessa van Uden and the Governance Reference Group to explore options of local community governance for Lakes District Hospital or a new configuration of health services for the Wakatipu."

 

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