| 21 Jun 2023

Health Minister tours new facilities at Timaru Hospital

The team at Te Whatu Ora South Canterbury welcomed Health Minister Dr Ayesha Verrall for the official opening of Timaru Hospital’s new endoscopy unit lon last week.

The unit has double the capacity of the previous facility, allowing the hospital to support more patients and carry out minor surgical procedures as well.

Dr Verrall praised the work of surgeons, nurses and support staff in getting the unit up and running to such high standard.

“I have heard the great job the team here is doing with its waitlists that actually means it’s in a position to help nearby districts with their waiting lists which is excellent,” said the Health Minister.

“Beginning with the bowel cancer screening which is a public health programme now accessible across the country, people who test positive for the test they get in the mail can come in a get a procedure here promptly.”

“We know that screening and early detection is so important for preventing bowel cancer.”

The Minister was greeted at the new endoscopy unit by a familiar face. Timaru Hospital General Surgeon Dr Madga Sakowska attended medical school with Dr Verrall and gave the tour of the facility, which she had a hand in designing.

“Our old unit was half the size, we only had one room and it was really awkwardly set-up because it was retrofitted into an existing building, there was no patient flow,” said Dr Sakowska.

“This new unit has been designed with patient experience in mind, as well as the clean-to-dirty flow that you should have in these units.”

The new unit also has space for patients to be consented in a room separate to the procedure room.

“It’s so refreshing to come to work, it’s a much better experience for everyone,” she said.

During her visit, the Minister was briefed by clinicians and senior leaders on local workforce issues and their efforts to prepare for the demands of winter.  She also toured the hospital’s new AT&R (Assessment, Treatment and Rehabilitation) unit which opened in May after two years of planning.

The new-17 bed unit has three clinic rooms, a physiotherapy gym, a four-bed bariatric unit, a selection of double and single rooms, and a self-contained flat to assess patients’ readiness to go home.

“This is a wonderful facility which will help patients return to full health and regain confidence before returning home, particularly for those patients from areas where there is limited access to rehab services, like Twizel.” said Dr Verrall.

Pictured below: Minister Verrall cutting the ribbon with Dr Madga Sakowska.

Two people cutting ribbon

Pictured below: Minister Verrall and Dr Madga Sakowska in the new endoscopy procedure room.

Two people talking in the new endi unit

Pictured below: The light-filled physio room in the new AT&R Unit.

AT&R physio gym