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Meanwhile, the board of the proposed new charity says SDHB services have not been effective.
CEO Chris Fleming and the SDHB commissioners team hosted a public meeting at Southland Hospital yesterday to provide an update on recent developments, and outline the next steps for health in district.
After the meeting, Mr Fleming commented on the proposed charity hospital. Blair Vining, who died recently following a battle with bowel cancer, and his wife Melissa initiated the attempt to create the hospital as a way to improve cancer patients' chances of survival.
Initially, the service would provide colonoscopies to Southland patients on waiting lists, potentially expanding to include diagnosis and treatment for other conditions.
Mr Fleming said if a patient met the referral guidelines or a specialist decided they required a colonoscopy, SDHB should give it to them.
''New Zealand has a rationed health system and so there will always be people that we do not accept referrals for that will benefit from surgery. I've got medical insurance so if I'm one of those people I just go privately. . Not everyone has that.
''I would encourage the charity hospital to focus on things that are not currently able to be resourced and funded by the health system rather than doing our job for us.''
Melissa Vining said the Southland Charity Hospital's priorities would be set by the interim board on a need basis.
''They are flexible to change as the need/demand of the community changes. I agree whole heartedly that colonoscopy should be provided by the public health system in a timely basis but as we have seen with recent publicity around cases such as Paul Cosgrove and Veronica Corbin this has not been the service southerners have all received.''
She said Southland had one of the highest rates of colorectal cancers in NZ - yet one of the lowest number of colonoscopies performed.
''I would be delighted if Southern DHB have adopted Dr Bagshaw's recommendations and are now providing colonoscopies when required in a timely manner. We all know early diagnosis and treatment is imperative to save lives.''
Prof Phil Bagshaw, from the Canterbury Charity Hospital, said Southland had one of the largest numbers of people needing colonoscopies who were not able to get them from SDHB.
He believed something had to be done.
''Cases of people needing colonoscopies and not getting them keep emerging. This is very disturbing.''