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MSS bus operation in Golden Bay welcomed

25 July 2005

MSS bus operation in Golden Bay welcomed by Rural Women New Zealand

Rural Women New Zealand (RWNZ) welcomes last week’s announcement from Nelson Marlborough District Health Board that the Mobile Surgical Services bus will soon begin visiting Golden Bay, after the DHB agreed to make funding available for both the set up and annual costs of the service.

This follows an 18-month campaign by RWNZ Golden Bay, spearheaded by Provincial secretary, Jo-Anne Vaughan, to see Takaka included in the high-tech bus’ operating schedule.

Surgeon Stu Gowland of Mobile Surgical Services said the introduction of the service to rural areas relies on communities taking ownership of the project.

Working in partnership with the Community Board and the Golden Bay Community Health Group, Jo-Anne Vaughan carried out a survey of local health professionals to gauge their support for the proposal and arranged a familiarisation visit by the bus last December - a visit that also served as proof of the bus’ ability to travel over the challenging Takaka Hill.

“It makes life much easier for us when there is a champion in the community. Jo-Anne Vaughan was the chief organiser in Golden Bay and was absolutely superb,” says Stu Gowland.

Official recognition of the need for mobile surgical services can also be attributed in part to a significant national rural health survey carried out by RWNZ in 2001, which drew attention to the problems rural people have in accessing services.

In its first phase, the MSS bus will bring day surgery services to the district, to be carried out by local nurses with support from surgeons in Nelson and Golden Bay. Later the technology will be expanded to provide video links for GPs, enabling them to confer with colleagues in other parts of the country and the rest of the world.

The Golden Bay project is now moving into its implementation phase, with nurses receiving extra training from Mobile Surgical Services to carry out day surgery procedures. Modifications will also be made to the Takaka hospital electricity supply and entranceway to accommodate the bus.

It is hoped to begin offering day surgery in Takaka this summer.


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