Surgical facilities proudly displayed during the open house

Southern Cross Central Lakes Hospital in Queenstown opened on Saturday, inviting the public to stroll through its operating theaters and recovery rooms for the first time since it opened in January.

The surgical facility, a joint venture between Southern Cross Healthcare and Central Lakes Trust, offers general surgery, orthopedic work, urology, gynecology, ophthalmology and plastic surgery.

Executive Chairman Andrew Blair said navigating Covid and the logistics of setting up meant the open day was a long time coming.

“We wanted to open the doors and show what we are extremely proud of, and so this was really our first opportunity to do that.”

Consisting of three operating theatres, a seven-bay recovery room, nine day wards and 13 inpatient beds, including two larger suites, the hospital layout has been designed to follow the “flow” of the patient’s surgical journey, as well as to maximize views of the Remarkables.

In its first six months of operation, the hospital treated more than 370 patients, more than two-thirds of whom were funded by the District Health Board or ACC, Blair said.

“So while it may seem like a very expensive private hospital, it’s accessible to a lot of people,” he said.

“I hope that when people come in through the front door their blood pressure drops…normally when you go to the hospital your anxiety levels go up, but we want people to feel welcome and safe. security,” Blair said.

The open house began at noon with 30 people lining up outside the doors, eager to take part in guided tours and a sizzle of sausages.

“People are really interested, there’s a young lady studying to be a nurse… the children of some of the people who work here can come and see where mum or dad works, as these theaters are not normally accessible for babysitting reasons. sterile things,” Blair said.

After checking the spaces, a visitor, who was due to have surgery at Invercargill, arranged to have his procedure instead at the Queenstown facility.

For Mr Blair, the hospital was in a way “a personal mission to bring the community what it needs” and to provide convenient access to the neighborhood.

“It was really important when we started planning this hospital, that we had a good relationship with the district health board, so that publicly funded patients didn’t have to make that trip to Invercargill or Dunedin. “

He said patients often travel to these locations for surgery, only to have procedures delayed due to the fact that these hospitals also have to respond to trauma and acute cases.

“We’re not dealing with that emergency treatment here, so there’s a lot more certainty that if you’re booked for surgery it will go ahead.”

Recently introducing cataract surgery to its repertoire, the hospital planned to perform knee and hip replacements by the end of the year, as well as using an operating room yet to be completed. in service for endoscopy.

“Endoscopy is a high volume need…the southern region has a bad incidence of bowel cancer, so colonoscopies and gastroscopy are really important, whether it’s for private patients or to help the public sector. “said Mr. Blair.

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Christine E. Phillips