Monday, March 19, 2012

Canterbury hospitals set back years by quake

On top of this, there are two hospital car park buildings that are out of action, a total of about 750 spaces gone.

Canterbury hospitals set back years by quake.

Quake damage at Canterbury hospitals could see patient services disrupted for several years to come.
The region's hospitals have suffered considerable damage as a result of the ongoing quakes and many key facilities need extensive repair work before they can resume operating at full capacity.

"We've got over 9000 hospital rooms that are damaged," Canterbury District Health Board (CDHB) chief executive David Meates said. "There are already 17 buildings that we've vacated. The size and level of repairs will have an impact on services, but we're working through short-term options to try and make sure the community doesn't have any less access to care."

With repairs likely to take some years, Meates is warning the DHB could struggle to meet some of the health targets set by the government.

The performance of district health boards is rated against national targets set by the Health Ministry, with the results published every quarter so the public can see how their DHB is performing.

The latest results from the Canterbury DHB show that despite the upheaval of the last 12 months it has managed to achieve, and even exceed, a number of the targets but Meates has warned that tough times lie ahead and that it would become increasingly challenging to meet the targets.

In recent weeks, the CDHB had been forced to close the operating theatres at Ashburton Hospital and to find a temporary new home for the Child Health Oncology Centre, which had had a flow-on effect on the type of paediatric surgery that could be carried out.

The Parkside block at Christchurch Hospital, which contains 24 operating theatres and undertakes 20,000 operations a year, is going to be a building site for the next 18-24 months as extensive repair work is carried out.

Asked whether the DHB could contract out more of its services, Meates said it was already using most of the private sector's capacity. A number of innovative options for delivering care were currently being looked at and some key decisions were in the pipeline that would significantly impact on how health care services in Canterbury were delivered in the coming years.

"The biggest immediate challenge we've got at the moment is how we deliver services through this winter – that's one of the big challenges we're facing," Meates said.
- © Fairfax NZ News

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