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This section contains media releases released a little while ago. Please note that due to the long time when some of these were released images have been removed and some links might no longer work.

March 8, 2012

West Coast DHB committed to maintaining quality orthopaedic care on Coast

David Meates, Chief Executive of the West Coast DHB said that providing quality orthopaedic care on the West Coast will continue, however it must be provided in a manner that is affordable.

"I have consistently said that for us to provide quality services for Coasters we need to ensure that services such as orthopaedics must be both clinically and financially sustainable.

"It is important that the community understand that there remain two permanent Orthopaedic Surgeons on the Coast. The discussion we are having is about changing our reliance on locums and working more closely with the Canterbury DHB Orthopaedic Service to provide services we can afford.

"For several years we have been providing orthopaedic services through a mix of permanent and locum orthopaedic surgeons. When there are gaps in this service, our doctors on the ground at Grey Base Hospital have been supported by the Canterbury DHB Orthopaedic service.

"While the use of locums has ensured that there has been orthopaedic coverage on the Coast, this has not been ideal in terms of consistent levels of service provision and has been extremely costly to sustain. There have been times when there has been no cover and other times when there have been two or more orthopaedic locums at Grey at the same time. However I do acknowledge the valuable role locums have played in ensuring we have had adequate service.

"But we need to change things. Frankly the use of locums on the Coast is not sustainable - it costs us too much money (at $2,500 per day plus expenses) and puts at risk the viability of services on the Coast.

"We are now at a point where we need to change the way that we think about how we ensure that the West Coast has a reliable quality and affordable orthopaedic service. This is not about reducing services.

"We are working closely with doctors, nurses, physiotherapists and other allied health professionals at the West Coast and Canterbury DHBs, We are looking at how we can transition our current orthopaedic services so we provide continuous and better care for people living on the West Coast."

West Coast DHB Chief Medical Officer, Dr Carol Atmore said, "With our colleagues at the Canterbury DHB we have proposed an orthopaedic pathway that will continue to provide a safe, high quality orthopaedic service for the people of the West Coast.

"The proposed service will be sustainable in the long term. Orthopaedic services will continue to be available every hour of every day, and the majority of acute orthopaedic surgery will continue to be done on the West Coast. It also draws on the wide range of clinical expertise in Christchurch for the benefit of West Coast people.

Dr Atmore says the proposed pathway provides a link between Greymouth Emergency Department and the acute orthopaedic admitting team at Christchurch Public Hospital on a 24/7 basis.

"In the proposed new service, our on-site senior doctors will often be able to provide the care required for people with orthopaedic problems, until the next available local orthopaedic surgery list. If urgent surgery is required and a surgeon is not available locally, the person will be transferred to Christchurch.

"This pathway reduces the reliance upon locum specialist staff and will ensure that West Coasters continue to receive the high quality orthopaedic care they require in a way that is sustainable into the future," says Dr Atmore.



For further information please contact

Bryan Jamieson
Community Liaison Officer
West Coast DHB
PO Box 387
Greymouth 7840
Phone (DDI): (03) 769-7665
Mobile: 027 245-9595
Email: This is not a link as we want to prevent spam.  Please transfer the email address on the image carefully into your email client before sending the email.  You might find, with some older email addresses on this site that they are no longer current, for staff-change reasons.  If your email bounces back please contact the WCDHB Communications Team - see Contacts section of this site.

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