Canterbury DHB will reopen Oxford Hospital in mid-June

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Dopors to reopen . . . The Oxford Hospital which has been closed since early March.

By Robyn Bristow

The Oxford Hospital is to reopen in mid-June.

The Canterbury District Health Board has announced it will reopen ahead of the Waikari, Ellesmere and Darfield Rural community hospitals because there is limited capacity in other aged care settings in Oxford.

Becky Hickmott, Executive Director of Nursing, says the majority of the residents who were shifted out of the hospitals due to the impact of Covid-19 on staffing, are from the Oxford Hospital, and there is staff capacity in Oxford to provide care for the seven residents who wish to return.

In the districts that surrounding the other three hospitals there are beds available in other local Aged Residential Care facilities, she says.

“Until we have sufficient staff to ensure the safe and appropriate care of their residents, their reopening will unfortunately be further delayed.”

The Canterbury closed the hospitals in early March, and 23 patients and residents ere located at alternative facilities due to staffing concerns and the Omicron outbreak.

North Canterbury Mayors and community leaders were concerned the hospitals may not reopen, particularly with the Government’s new health reforms beginning to kick in on July 1.

Becky says widespread and elevated Covid-19 infection rates continue among board staff, and our Canterbury community, including in the areas affected by the temporary closures.

“The current circumstances require a discussion with our rural communities on how we might deliver an improved mix of services in these rural areas that makes the best possible use of our resources, and allows some services to be provided closer to home,” she says.

The Canterbury District Health Board says it is committed to investing in rural communities and wants to work in partnership with them, and staff who know their communities best, to develop a future service model based on modern, evidence-based practice.

A working group comprising clinical and operational staff, together with community representation will be convened to develop a proposal on a possible future model of care in these communities.

“We are aiming to share the proposal in four to six weeks time. We will then be looking for feedback, initially from staff. There also will be a process for listening to the views of the current residents and their families and later, the wider community,

“In the meantime, our focus will be on ensuring a smooth and welcoming return home for the seven residents coming back to the Oxford Community Hospital.”