Kaikōura Health ultrasound

Generous donations to secure a state of the art $45,000 ultrasound machine mean Kaikōura residents will have access to crucial acute ultrasound scanning and more rapid diagnostic assessments.

Māia Health Foundation has purchased an ultrasound machine for Kaikōura Health, thanks to substantial donations of $22,000 each from Pegasus Health and MainPower.

Māia Health Foundation Chief Executive Michael Flatman says this machine is going to help Kaikōura Health take their health services from good to great.

“This new ultrasound machine will enable a higher level of care to be provided to the Kaikōura community, with faster diagnosis and treatment, improving patient safety while also removing unnecessary referrals to Christchurch,” says Flatman.

Kaikōura Health’s previous ultrasound machine was a basic portable machine, and deemed ‘not fit for purpose’, which meant its uses were very limited. Many patients had to be referred to Christchurch for the high-quality ultrasound examining they required.

With more than 20 referrals being made each month by Kaikōura Health to Christchurch’s Radiology services, patients were often placed on waiting lists.

Patients who did travel to Christchurch for an ultrasound would often need to stay overnight. For some elderly patients, the lengthy drive was just not possible.

“This is a community who has been through so much and we knew having a top of the range ultrasound machine in their own community would make a real difference,” says Flatman.

Kaikōura Health provides the only 24/7 health care between Amberley and Blenheim and serves both its own rural community and the hundreds of thousands of tourists that visit the region each year and who travel along State Highway One.

For MainPower’s Chief Executive, Andy Lester, backing the cause was a ‘no-brainer’.

“It was easy for us to understand the benefit it would provide. Given what Kaikōura has been through over the past few years, it would have been difficult for them to come up with the funds, when they’ve already had to do so much for themselves.”

“This is a great way for us to make sure we’re continuing to provide extra support to the community and our staff in the area, over and above providing them with a safe, secure and reliable electricity network.”

This isn’t the first time MainPower has lent the Māia Health Foundation its support. It joined Māia as a Business Partner in 2016, to help with Māia’s fundraising for the future-proofed helipad for Christchurch Hospital.

“The helipad was a great match for us, because our North Canterbury region relies on it so heavily to get patients in and out of Christchurch Hospital. When this opportunity came up to be able to support the ultrasound machine in Kaikōura, we knew that it was directly beneficial for our community too,” says Lester.

Pegasus Health CEO Vince Barry says this new imaging equipment will greatly benefit the Kaikoura community.

“We’re committed to helping primary care deliver services to people in their own communities to reduce the need to travel for appointments. Your family practice is at the centre of your health care and we want to strengthen that link and the range of care available without needing to travel, and this new imaging equipment helps us achieve that,” says Barry.

Doctor Andrea Judd, from Kaikōura Health says the new machine will make a world of difference.

“It’s going to assist with better diagnosis, more definitive treatment and will help us better utilise the health dollar so that those who need more rapid assessment can get it. We’re also hoping that the purchase of this machine will help towards our long-term goal of attracting a specialist sonography service to Kaikōura.

“All overseas literature shows that a facility our size needs a quality ultrasound service. For us to keep up with other facilities of our size we just had to have a machine of this quality – it was becoming a necessity. Our most sincere thanks goes to Māia Health Foundation, MainPower, Pegasus Health and the Salkeld family for helping us meet this very real need,” says Dr Judd.

The funding for the $45,000 ultrasound machine was completed with a $1,000 donation from Gerald and Peggy Salkeld. The Christchurch family have a special relationship with Kaikōura – their family has had a holiday home in South Bay for more than 60 years.

“Kaikōura has been a wonderful place for us, enjoyed by the children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and this donation is our way of giving back to the Kaikōura community,” says Gerald.

And it’s hoped the Kaikōura community will see more of the Māia Health Foundation in the future.

“The Kaikōura district is an important part of the Canterbury DHB territory and we definitely hope to be able to spend more time working with, and for, this community into the future,” says Flatman.

For more information, please visit the Māia Health Foundation website http://www.maiahealth.org.nz/news-and-events/health-services-get-immediate-boost-as-new-ultrasound-machine-secured-for-top-of-the-south/