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Gisborne the region that coped the best with Covid-19

'It's been a fairly hurly-burly few months'.

Gisborne is the region that has coped the best with Covid-19 and Hauora Tairawhiti will now move to catch up on health services deferred during the lockdown, says district health board chairwoman Kim Ngarimu.

She told the board at their monthly meeting held electronically yesterday that she was proud of the efforts of all health workers and others working for the safety of the community.

Ms Ngarimu said Ministry of Heath figures showed Tairawhiti had —

■ The highest per capita testing rate in the country.

■ The highest rate of testing Maori.

■ The second highest rate of testing Pacifica.

■ The lowest rate for Covid-19.

■ The lowest overall number of Covid-19 cases.

“It's been a fairly hurly-burly few months,” said Ms Ngarimu.

I'm feeling that we have stood up and we have done our community proud.”

Ms Ngarimu said the board would focus on responding to any future recurrence of Covid-19 while “winding up” the provision of health services and delivering services deferred during alert levels 4 and 3.

“We have very firmly got our sights set on bringing all our services back and catching up.”

Hauora Tairawhiti chief executive Jim Green said the hospital was now starting to “gear up”. During the past week the hospital had recorded 92 percent of planned work compared to the comparable week last year.

The Ministry of Health describes planned care as the “health journey from the time when you develop a condition needing treatment to the time the problem is either resolved or under control”.

The only major component of planned care not yet reinstated was joint replacements, which would restart from June 8.

Mr Green said complex procedures were being held back for when the chances of Covid-19 infection were low and to avoid putting pressure on the hospital when staff might have “to scale up”.

“Clearly the risk of that is diminishing day by day, week by week.”

Gisborne Hospital is to increase joint replacement surgeries by 50 percent over the next six months to catch up on the backlog.

Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield had set health boards the challenge of catching up with volumes by the end of the year.

Hauora Tairawhiti would rise to the occasion, said Mr Green.

The number of people waiting more than four months for a first specialist assessment (FSA) had increased by about 20 percent.

Those waiting for surgery had doubled.

Mr Green said “basically” only extremely urgent surgery was carried out during the lockdown while some virtual FSAs had been carried out by telephone or video.

Those waiting for surgery or FSAs would be contacted and prioritised, he said.

CONQUERING COVID: We did it Gisborne!