Carol-Ann Blaikie got more than she bargained for at Dunstan Hospital earlier this week.
Not only did she receive specialist care from the team on board the touring surgical bus, she was the 1000th patient to benefit from the service at Dunstan Hospital.
She helped the hospital mark the milestone on Tuesday afternoon by posing for a photo with her team of medical staff before boarding the bus, a surgical day-service that has more space than an average medical room.
Mrs Blaikie, of Cromwell, had not previously used the facility, but appreciated its value to rural communities.
“It’s a great service,” she said.
The bus, which tours remote New Zealand towns in both the North and South Islands, has been meeting a need at Dunstan Hospital since 2002.
The hospital’s acting chief executive, Debi Lawry, said the service was a valuable asset to the community.
“We at Dunstan Hospital really value the commitment of the Mobile Surgical Services team to bring surgical services to our rural area.”
She said the service meant patients were saved up to seven-hour round trips to Dunedin, where they would go for treatment otherwise.
Anaesthetist Dr Malcolm Stuart said there was a need for communities to champion the service, which focuses on one area of care during each visit.
“If the local community is behind it, it will keep coming.”
On average, up to seven patients are seen each day, one at a time. The maximum is 12.
This week an orthopaedic surgeon was on board, along with Dr Stuart and nurses.
The Mobile Surgical Services will return to the district in five weeks.