Outrage over hospital care


700 fed up with SDHB robbing them of funding

Almost 700 locals have risen up against Southland District Health Board’s inadequate Wakatipu hospital services, according to a group demanding a healthcare shake-up.

A Wakatipu Health Trust survey – launched online three weeks ago – has returned an “overwhelming” response from residents sharing nightmare experiences at the 22-bed Lakes Dist­­rict Hospital, trustee Maria Cole says.

Her trust is demanding answers from SDHB after Mountain Scene revelations that the struggling LDH is significantly under-funded, with further hospital cost-cutting imminent.

“The [survey] results are almost unanimous in their advocacy for greater community say in the planning and running of our hospital,” Cole says.

Her trust can’t identify names of people sharing personal experiences, due to the survey’s commitment of confidentiality – but many case-histories are “frightening”, she says.

“Why do I have to take a day off work to travel to Invercargill for a simple fracture when there’s a hospital only two minutes’ walk away?” asks one respondent.

Another: “My mother broke her leg very early on a Sunday and when we got to the hospital the nurse said they would delay calling the X-ray lady for an hour so that she could have a lie-in as it was Sunday.”

Other locals lament the “backwater” hospital services.

“Maternity services at LDH are akin to a Third World country. In fact, I have friends who have given birth in Africa and have experienced better available treatments and facilities,” says one.

Another respondent says: “I’ve known women in labour having to swap ambulances en route to Invercargill.”

Respondents “generally” praised staff at LDH – “the failure is in the range of services available and the lack of any accountability to the community”, Cole says.

SDHB hasn’t got to grips with Wakatipu healthcare and there’s no “strategic planning” for local hospital services. “No one should be surprised at the depth of feeling that’s being expressed by the community,” Cole adds

You can add your voice to the community outcry over inadequate hospital funding at www.whtrust.co.nz