Southern Cross Central Lakes Hospital Panorama

Editorial

Just the first step in a serious hospital upgrade

December 13 2021 by Joseph Mooney

Just the first step in a serious hospital upgrade

On Friday, it was a pleasure to attend the opening of the Queenstown Surgical Hospital which will be a great asset to our community.

The Central Lakes Trust deserves a big congratulations for their work, partnering with Southern Cross, to see their vision realised. 

It demonstrates the great can-do spirit of the Queenstown community, coming together through the Central Lakes Trust to make this hospital a reality.

If a local charitable organisation can establish such a great facility, the question must be asked why can’t the Government make better use of its billions in healthcare spending to provide our communities with the facilities they need.

It is clear that this new hospital needs to be the first step in a serious upgrade of our community’s healthcare facilities. 

I have spent much of 2021 asking Health Minister Andrew Little to address inadequacies in Southern healthcare and will continue doing so until our people  get what they require.

There is a lot of work to do and I am determined to see this addressed because the status quo in areas like maternity care, cancer detection and treatment, mental health, and access to a wide range of specialist appointments needs to be a lot better in our region.

Whether it is here in the Lakes District or across the electorate, access to maternity care, particularly in emergencies and special circumstances, is well short of what our people deserve and what should be expected in a first world country.

Minister Little’s ministerial inbox has been filled with letters from me outlining how critical the healthcare situation in the south is.

The major disparity in the services and facilities available in the south compared to other areas of the country has been put in black and white for the Minister.

Mr Little palmed off a response to my concerns to Associate Health Minister Ayesha Verrall, who has clearly failed to grasp the gravity of the maternity situation here.

The evidence of the Government’s inaction to my concerns raised many months ago, is the Southern DHB independently raising concerns to highlight the risk for southern mums and babies because of massive staff shortages.

The two hospitals which serve as secondary/tertiary bases for Lakes District mothers in Dunedin and Southland Hospitals are staffed at a staggering 52.5% and 17.3%.

A lack of secondary facilities in Central Otago has led to emergency cases being turned away from both Southland and Dunedin hospitals and redirected to Timaru, increasing stresses on the primary services we have here.

We can thank the dedication of our highly-skilled, passionate and caring local midwives, doctors and nurses that keep our local services going in trying conditions.

Their dedication is to be admired and I thank each of you for your incredible contributions in a very challenging year.

Joseph Mooney
Member of Parliament for Southland

- Joseph Mooney