'Hospital at my doorstep': Southern Cross hospital's first knee replacement patient, Queenstowner Amanda Cushen, with, from left, her surgeon Dr Chris Phoon, hospital founder/board chair Andrew Blair and GM Tim Capill. PICTURE: JAMES ALLAN PHOTOGRAPHY

Almost a year since it started operating, Queenstown’s surgical hospital reached three major milestones this month.

The first knee and hip replacement surgeries were performed and, including three-night stays by both those patients, all 13 inpatient beds were fully occupied for an entire week for the first time.

Also, for the first time, its two operating theatres were employed every week day morning and afternoon, performing 45 operations.

Starting only with day surgeries, Southern Cross Central Lakes Hospital — a joint venture between Central Lakes Trust and Southern Cross Healthcare — has progressively taken on more complex surgery as the surgical team’s melded together, new GM Tim Capill says.

As with other surgeries, a good proportion of the hip and knee surgeries will be publicly funded by Te Whatu Ora Southern or ACC.

With the hospital’s scope of services increasing, he suggests the main benefit is more locals than ever using the hospital rather than having to go out of town.

‘‘It’s all right at your doorstep,’’ says the hospital’s first knee replacement patient, Queenstowner Amanda Cushen, who’d otherwise intended going to Christchurch or Dunedin.

Local Hamish Ryan, who had the first hip replacement op, says ‘‘it’s state-of-the-art and the staff were incredible’’.

‘‘I was either going to go to Invercargill or Dunedin, but it’s so easy for your wife just to drop you off … it’s a fantastic asset for our area.’’

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