|News and media|
Tairawhiti District Health launches new nurse-led flight serviceTairawhiti District Health has launched a new nurse-led flight service in conjunction with the Midland Regional Transport project.
TDH Chief Executive Jim Green said the new service includes a contract with Air Gisborne to supply the aircraft.
Patients will benefit from the innovative service, which employs flight nurses who are also trained as renal specialists to work at TDH’s new satellite dialysis unit.
“A dedicated plane and specially trained flight nurse team will allow more speedy delivery of patients to hospitals such as Waikato, where many Tairawhiti people are treated,” said Jim.
“Those patients requiring air transport will be the main beneficiaries of the new service, and there will also be financial savings for the DHB.
“We will also be able to get patients back from other hospitals more quickly which brings them closer to home. It also frees up beds for people needing specialist services such as heart services in Waikato.”
About 340 non-pressurised return flights are completed each year, with the majority (85%) to Waikato.
The development and implementation of the new service has been a lengthy project.
TDH project leader Janet Willson said the project grew to be much larger than she first expected.
“The original brief was to find a flight provider, but that changed into full development of a nurse-led service, as we tried to take into account what would be best for our community. We’ve worked closely with a team from Waikato in order to determine the best possible solution.”
Small DHBs traditionally find it difficult to resource a specialist flight service, because it is hard to recruit enough fully trained nurses to cover for annual leave and sickness.
But TDH has come up with an innovative way to manage this, according to Clinical Nurse Manager, Natasha Ashworth.
Mrs Ashworth, who manages both the flight service and the dialysis unit, said the two projects were combined in order to maximise availability of specialist staff.
Flight nursing and haemodialysis nursing might not appear to have much in common on the surface, she said, but in fact a core set of skills, and the ability to work autonomously at an advanced clinical level, is required in both services.
“By combining the teams we’re able to have a larger base of trained nurses – a very effective way for us to safeguard vulnerable services.”www.midlanddhbs.health.nz
Date: 24 July 2012
For more information contact:
Tairawhiti District health
06 869-0500 ext 8115