Sharing ultrasound good for patients

By Christine McKay

Dannevirke Community Hospital's new ultrasound machine is shining the light on the facility's private/public partnership.

"This is a win-win for everyone," said Sharon Wards, the chief executive of the Tararua Health Group, which operates the Dannevirke Community Hospital.

"The new machine provides the opportunity to enhance our relationship with MidCentral Health and is another step in our private/public partnership."

Mrs Wards said the ultrasound machine was a visible sign of the integration between private and public health care.

"Integration is here and patients are getting a better service as a result of it," she said.

As part of the integration, the community hospital will use the ultrasound machine three days a week and MidCentral for two.

"This new technology is definitely state-of-the-art and just the third ultrasound machine we've had here since the community hospital opened," Mrs Wards said.

For sonographer Annie Poulton, of Kumeroa/Hopelands, the machine provides better imaging quality and resolution.

Having trained in Australia 30 years ago, Mrs Poulton has been working in Dannevirke for 12 years and admits she wasn't sad to see the old ultrasound machine depart.

After 13 years in use, the old machine was a bit behind the times but that didn't stop Mrs Poulton from being one of the top in her field.

In July she was given an award for providing excellent service in New Zealand's smallest department.

"It's acknowledgment that I'm up with the play," Mrs Poulton said.

Dannevirke Community Hospital manager Chrissy Shead said the new IU22 machine would reduce waiting times for patients.

Patients in the Tararua, who previously went through to Palmerston North for scans, will now be able to be catered for in Dannevirke.

"This will help reduce the waiting lists at Palmerston North Hospital, too," she said.

As the first patients were scanned last week on the ultrasound machine, Tararua Health Group reached another important milestone, Mrs Wards said.

"The agreement for the development of a new, integrated health centre was signed on Wednesday, another step forward in the provision of targeted health services in the district," she said.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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