Happy New Year 2019!

It has been a super busy time over the Christmas and New Year period for Twizel Medical Centre and St John.

As you know at the start of our busiest time (1 December) changes were made to the subsidies that Government pays to reduce the charges that Community Services Card (CSC) holders pay for health services.  This required us to quickly disseminate information to the public, but the timing meant that some glitches weren’t picked up as the roll-out occurred, just before funders and technical support services and staff went off on their Christmas breaks.  The additional demand and uncertainty that this created for practices nationally is being worked through – the main impact this might have is a possible delay in the timing of the government subsidy to support the lower fees for CSC card holders.

There was a huge influx of visitors over the peak holiday season, greatly boosting our population and the demand for health and emergency services.

For these reasons, while we only ran on-call services on Christmas Day and Boxing Day, we opened for normal hours and on-call after hours on the stat holidays of 1 and 2 January.

Even with NP Sue Price and Dr Hitesh Kothari on board we were flooded with people and had to call in additional nursing staff, St John and Administration staff.  This influx is forecast to continue until late March.

Over the holiday period we had ambulance call-outs, helicopter flights and the usual array of broken limbs, displaced joints, fish hooks, slashes, gashes and a plethora of miscellaneous injuries.

As a matter of interest, in the period from 1 December to 15 January there were 66 ambulance call-outs averaging 3–4 hours per call.  The areas covered were Omarama, Aoraki Mt Cook, Otematata, Tekapo and the Mackenzie Basin.  Twelve helicopters were dispatched in this period.

At the call-outs members of the public are sometimes available to lend a hand, and do a great job assisting – a big thank you to everyone who helped!

A reminder to the community that the hugely popular Dr Kothari will be joining us for further clinics on 29 January–2 February, and from 19–23 February.  Please phone Twizel Medical Centre to book appointments.

The staff here wish you all a continued happy and healthy holiday season.