Life begins outside the resort for many new Queenstowners, with more local mums birthing elsewhere – like Natasha Murray (above) did to have twins Matthew, left, and Joseph, in Dunedin Hospital earlier this year.
Most textbook births are still carried out at LDH but more women choose to deliver at the likes of Southland Hospital and Alexandra’s Charlotte Jean Maternity Hospital. Between the 2006-07 and 07-08 years, there was a 16 per cent drop in local mums birthing locally.
Queenstown’s elderly are officially Otago-Southland’s most shortchanged – and the situation is likely to get worse, the Fraser Report predicts.
Between 53-61 resthome and hospital beds are currently needed to put Wakatipu elderly on level pegging for age-related residential care (ARRC) access with Central Otago, Clutha and Waitaki – the resort presently has only 34 ARRC beds, 28 in the resthome and six at LDH.
Fraser believes local ARRC utilisation rates are lower because our elderly are exiled out of town to die.
Over the next 22 years, our over-75 population is expected to grow by 240 per cent to 1630 people so, even based on present low ARRC utilisation, 138 beds would be needed then.
And if our old folk are to have bed-parity with Central Otago, Clutha and Waitaki elderly, Queenstown needs at least 196 beds by 2031.
LDH presently transfers a higher proportion of patients to far-off base hospitals than any other similar-sized hospital in Otago-Southland, the Fraser Report says.
In the 2006-07 year, 20 per cent of patients were shipped out of town and 16 per cent in 2007-08. About 82 per cent of all transfers go to Invercargill’s Southland Hospital 190km away.
If Lakes District Hospital had its fair share, the Fraser Report says it would have three more acute medical beds than the current 10.
Based on future growth – the Wakatipu’s population is projected to climb 55 per cent by 2031 – Queenstown should have 36 hospital beds by then to be on par with local hospitals serving Oamaru, Alexandra, Balclutha and Gore.
Big gaps exist in outpatient services at LDH compared with other satellite hospitals, the report confirms.
Even Oamaru Hospital, which serves 22,000 people over 7148 sq km, has twice as many outpatient services as LDH.
Here’s what Oamaru gets that Queenstown doesn’t: cardiac rehabilitation, cardiology, chemotherapy, continence, dermatology, ecocardiography, fracture clinic, gastroenterology, geriatrician, oncology, orthopaedic, psychogeriatrics, respiratory education, rheumatology, smoking cessation and a stress exercise clinic.