September 07, 2021 Share
The inadequacies and inequality at Southland Hospital are not new and the Southern District Health Board must urgently remedy them, rather than just paying them lip-service, Invercargill MP Penny Simmonds says.
“The time for talk and hand-wringing is over, with comments this week about the lack of facilities at Southland Hospital, by both the board CE Chris Fleming and the chairman Pete Hodgeson, just a nonsense.
“Mr Fleming said he was stunned that a ‘previous hospital board’ had removed the anterooms from the emergency department before redevelopment work 13 years ago, while Mr Hodgeson questioned whether Southland people were ‘being treated fairly.’
“But I say these shortfalls are nothing new and have been plaguing our hospital for years, and I’m shocked that the board is only now acknowledging them.
“I have spent the past 12 months, working with a group of health professionals, trying to highlight the desperate lack of facilities at our hospital.
“Some local orthopaedic surgeons and GP’s have told me that the health and quality of life of their patients will deteriorate beyond repair before they get the surgery they need, because of operating theatre shortfalls.
“Now the board says orthopaedic referrals to Southland Hospital are being tightly monitored to manage untenable waiting lists, with 1579 patients waiting longer than recommended, including 230 patients needing orthopaedic surgery.
“Shockingly another 200 Southland children are also waiting for dental surgery because of a lack of theatre space.
“Our hospital has just 115 beds and 2.9 theatres per 100,000 people - that's nearly 60 percent fewer beds per 100,000 people, and 37 percent less theatre space, than neighbouring Otago.
“But these deficits are not new and it seems an utter nonsense that the Southern District Health Board is only now coming to terms with them, let alone doing anything about them.
"I call on the board to bring these issues to the attention of the Health Minister. Ultimately it's the Government's responsibility to properly resource our DHB's. Instead it's spending half a billion on a health restructure that's unlikely to improve outcomes for people in this region."