Docs warn of patient risks

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The hospital doctors’ union predicts cost-cutting plans for Lakes District Hospital will put residents at risk. 

Ian Powell, who heads the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists, warns Southern District Health Board boss Brian Rousseau of “serious clinical and professional concerns” over the plan. 

SDHB called a public meeting last night to sell its controversial proposal to sceptical Queenstowners. 

Powell’s especially hot about a move to chop an 11am-9pm shift of doctors and nurses. This third shift was 
introduced in 2008 because day-shift LDH docs were having to call in “exhausted” night-shift docs to help out. “Doctors felt the care patients were receiving was unsafe,” Powell says, warning that cutting the shift “will [again] produce an unsafe professional environment”. 

He predicts Rousseau’s plan will “destabilise a highly-trained workforce at LDH” and “seriously undermine … the future growth of health services”. 

Rousseau has told Mountain Scene the proposal will provide better access to healthcare.

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