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Nurse assessments to assist with doctor shortage

Nurse assessments to assist with doctor shortage

A shortage of doctors this month means nurses will be assessing patient needs at Buller Health Medical, but the General Manager Buller Kathleen Gavigan says people should not delay seeking help if they need medical attention.

“In the past when we’ve cautioned people about a shortage of doctors, some of our older folk have put off coming to see a doctor when they’ve really needed to. We don’t want that to happen. We just want to let people know that nurses will be seeing people first to assess their needs. If someone needs a doctor, the nurse will call one in.

“What we’re dealing with is a nationwide shortage of locums, and when we have doctors away, it can become difficult to ensure all our requirements are covered. It would be handy if people requiring repeat prescriptions contacted us before they run out, so we can plan whether they absolutely have to see a doctor or could get a repeat script signed off. And if people don’t need their doctor’s appointments, please let us know so we can offer it to someone else.

“The good news is we have a long term locum doctor arriving in September. That will help alleviate our shortages. Our existing and experienced Buller team remains committed to providing health services for the region, supported by the rural base hospital in Greymouth, and tertiary services in Christchurch.”

Ms Gavigan says she understands the frustration felt by Buller locals but says the DHB is managing the situation as much as it is able to.

“The nursing team based in Buller have been fantastic and will continue to manage our patients with support from available doctors and Grey Base Hospital as required.”


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