Health board’s scanner clue


Health bosses have dropped a major hint Queenstown’s finally getting a CT scanner.

The Southern District Health Board is advertising a job for a new ‘medical radiation technologist’ at Frankton’s Lakes District Hospital.

“You’ll be required to conduct diagnostic medical imaging and CT scanning in a safe and professional manner,” the ad says.

The advert comes just three months after coroner David Crerar concluded a CT scanner in Queenstown might have resulted in different treatment for US tourist Corey Docherty.

Docherty died after falling from a balcony at Base Backpackers in February 2015.

At the time, the health board told Crerar it was impractical to fund and supply a CT scanner to all its tertiary hospitals, at a cost of $2 million to buy and $800,000 a year to run.

After community fundraising, the board placed Central Otago’s single CT scanner at Clyde’s Dunstan Hospital in 2013.

Queenstown was promised one through a public-private partnership, but after reviewing patient numbers the private company withdrew.

Former Wakatipu Health Trust chairwoman Maria Cole says a scanner for Lakes District Hospital is now “long overdue”.

But SDHB boss Carole Heatly wouldn’t confirm a scanner is on its way.

Heatly says: “We’re future-proofing Lakes District Hospital and recruiting staff with as many skills as possible so, if, in the future, the diagnostic capability in Queenstown changes, then we have staff who can provide a full range of services.”

The job is based in general X-ray.

Cole says: “That we need the scanner is undisputed, it’s well-researched and documented.

“It just depends on who you’re talking to as to how quickly we need it.

“One could read into that perhaps it is on the radar but I wouldn’t necessarily hold my breath.”

Cole says it’s a positive thing to recruit qualified staff.

“But the DHB has a lot of issues at the moment and we need to collectively encourage it to step up to its obligations to Queenstown.”