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Health First At Taumarunui Hospital

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Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Health First At Taumarunui Hospital

Wellington, Oct 18 NZPA - Taumarunui Hospital will trial a New Zealand-first system, aimed at addressing health staffing shortages in rural communities, by bringing a paramedic inside its doors.

From next Tuesday a St John advanced paramedic will work as a team member in the hospital's emergency department.

The paramedic will help treat and discharge patients.

Currently the skills of paramedics were under-utilised in only responding to emergencies, Waikato District Health Board (DHB) change manager Grant O'Brien said.

Taumarunui Hospital had been providing the bulk of after-hours calls for some time, but recent data showed a significant growth in people arriving at the emergency department between 9am and 5pm.

The town also had difficulty replacing GPs and currently had only 4.5 GPs for a population of 10,000, Mr O'Brien said.

Waikato DHB chief executive Craig Climo said the initiative would be used in other rural communities if the six-month trial was successful.

Taumarunui Hospital manager Joanne Knight said bringing advanced paramedics into the emergency department was a positive idea.

"An advanced paramedic has very proficient skills in first response to emergency situations as they often work in remote or difficult situations, isolated from other health professionals," Ms Knight said.

"They will complement the work of both the nursing and medical staff in the emergency department."

Mr O'Brien said there was little demand for advanced paramedics in small rural communities.

"This pilot is hoping to increase the amount of work for them to do to make their employment worthwhile."

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