Wānaka doctors close after-hours services due to staff shortages
Wānaka residents are being asked to go to hospitals in Queenstown or Clyde if they require urgent medical care after 11pm.
The change has started this week after GP practices in Wānaka announced staffing shortages have forced them to reduce their hours of care.
Aspiring Medical and Wānaka Medical practices have previously teamed up to provide after-hours medical services in the town.
In a joint statement with WellSouth Primary Health Network and Te Whatu Ora Southern, the health providers say "ongoing recruitment issues and the impact of Covid-19 on clinical resources" have forced them to change the way they do things.
The changes are "an interim solution to ensure consistent access", until "a more sustainable model is developed" for Wānaka and the wider Central Otago region, the statement says.
"WellSouth Primary Health Network and Te Whatu Ora Southern are committed to providing healthcare services that are sustainable and appropriate for the Wānaka community."
From 6pm, anyone wanting to access a doctor can ring their local practice (or Healthline on 0800 611 116) to speak with a nurse, who'll triage them.
Until 11pm, there will be a clinician on call in Wānaka, available to see patients urgently needing treatment.
After that, if the person needs to be seen, they'll be directed to either Dunstan or Lakes District Hospitals, depending on the circumstances.
There are no changes to each of the Wanaka practices’ normal daytime hours, including on weekends.
"As always, in a medical emergency, please dial 111."