Speech language therapist Sarah Martin was on her own at Wairarapa Hospital until Natasha Broussard came on board.

Ms Broussard's appointment, which began last month, is part of a shared working arrangement with Hutt Valley DHB - every Thursday she drives over the hill to work with Wairarapa patients.

"Sarah has been here for a few months but the problem was it was only her - if she was away there was no service."

Hutt Valley, Capital and Coast and Wairarapa DHBs have been making more moves to share their services since 2010 in an effort to cut costs and fill staffing gaps.


Ms Broussard said the speech language therapy arrangement also ensures they are able to work with a wider range of conditions and patients.

"My area of expertise is voice, and the ear, nose and throat side of things.

"It gives us a wider scope of practice, and I can support Sarah in her learning in that area as well."

The Australian-born therapist worked in Melbourne for eight years with a focus on brain injury rehabilitation and voice, and in London for three and a half years, before coming to New Zealand.

A speech language therapist works with people who have had brain injuries, strokes, or have neurological conditions such as MS and Parkinson's, as well as children with speech impediments and people who have damaged their vocal cords.

"Speech therapists work on communication, expression, talking and listening, for example sometimes they don't understand things, reading and writing.

"We take it for granted it is just something you do until something goes wrong."

Ms Broussard said working for both DHBs also gives patients who live and work in Wairarapa and Wellington more flexibility for appointments, and she reckons it is a positive move.

"If this carries on, perhaps a few of us will be coming over."