Hospital throws open its doors

Visitors welcome: Southern Cross Central Lakes Hospital executive chair Andrew Blair checks arrange- ments for Saturday’s open day with registered nurses Hazel Alviola, left, and Hania Zadio

The public are invited to check out Queenstown’s swish-new surgical hospital for the first time this Saturday.

Southern Cross Central Lakes Hospital, near Lake Hayes Estate, is hosting an open day from noon till 3pm.

There’ll be guided tours including a sneak peek at an operating theatre, while staff will be on hand to answer questions and check your blood pressure.

There’ll also be a sausage sizzle outside and goodie bags for the first 200 families.

Comprising three theatres and 13 inpatient beds, including two larger suite rooms, the hospital — a joint venture between Southern Cross Healthcare and Central Lakes Trust — has operated on 369 patients since opening in January, of whom 77.5% were day cases and 22.5% inpatients.

Patients have come from around Otago and Southland, and one even travelled from Auckland.

Executive chair Andrew Blair says patient numbers are ‘‘right on track’’ and over the next 12 months they’re looking at over 1250.

Services include orthopaedics, general surgery, opthalmology, gynaecology, urology and some plastic surgery, with hip and knee joint replacement surgery due to be added by the end of the year.

Blair’s particularly pleased over two-thirds of patients have been publicly-funded by the district health board or ACC.

The largest patient cohort has been males between 25 and 34, indicative of the high number of recreational activities in the region, like mountain biking and skiing, which ‘‘might result in injury’’, he says.

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