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Our DHB Suffers From Chronic Intensive Care Bed Shortage At Dunedin Hospital

This story came up on RNZ’s Checkpoint programme. Is there something wrong in the telling of this story or is the health system on its knees for this to be allowed to happen?

Here it is…….

Several Southern DHB patients have had surgeries delayed multiple times because of a bed shortage in the intensive care unit, with one man passing away while he waited.

Donna Ballantyne says her 68-year-old father Owen Glover died at his Mosgiel home alone, while waiting for surgery after his appointment was postponed for a fourth time.

Ms Ballantyne said the surgery was scheduled to finally take place at the beginning of August, but her father did not make it.

“He died alone, because they wouldn’t get their shit together.”

Ms Ballantyne said she no longer had any faith in New Zealand’s health care system.

In another case, Kelly Gibbs said her severely disabled teenage daughter Amber had her surgery cancelled as she was being wheeled into theatre.

Amber was scheduled have surgery on her curved spine, with family travelling to be in Dunedin to support her and her family.

Southern District Health Board CEO Chris Flemming. Photo: SDHB

Ms Gibbs said they had all been anxious leading up to the surgery.

“We had her all gowned up, and the next minute the surgeon comes into the room and says to us: we’re sorry but the surgery needs to be postponed because a young guy has had a heart attack, has taken Amber’s bed in ICU and will be needing a triple bypass.”

And the family of Merv Telfer said he had had his heart bypass surgery postponed for the seventh time, after it was first scheduled in May.

Mr Telfer’s daughter Bridget said surgeries were being postponed for patients who shouldn’t be stressed.

“To get right to that stage… it’s terrible, it’s really frustrating.

“They are ticking time bombs.”

Southern District Health Board chief executive Chris Fleming is not without sympathy for the plight of these and other patients caught up in this.

He says the number of intensive care beds had just increased from six to eight, with the hospital scheduled to have two more beds by August 2018.

Mr Fleming said plans were underway to redevelop the hospital, but conceded that currently there were not enough beds.

“In terms of over the longer term, we should’ve been doing better planning for the redevelopment of our facilities, it should’ve started much earlier than it has, but we are on the pathway.”

He said patient care had been delayed because of ICU capacity.

“I feel awful about it but on a day by day basis I must empower my clinicians to make decisions that are right on the day.”

He said the number of cancellations was not acceptable, but they were striving to do better, and they were looking at adding another bed to the ICU in the interim.

RNZ Checkpoint

PS ..and the Government plans to spend how many millions on a cycleway along the Kaikoura coast?

Mal

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