A Central Lakes resident has appointed as deputy commissioner to help shape the future health services and care in town as well as in Queenstown and Central Otago areas.
Helen Telford, of Queenstown, will lead the Central Lakes Locality Network (CLLN), which is the first of a series of advisory networks being established in the district to help support the implementation of Southern District Health Board’s (SDHB) Primary and Community Care Strategy and Action Plan. She will work closely with SDHB and WellSouth Primary Health Network to 'ensure health services and facilities match the current and future health care needs of patients and consumers.'
Telford, the director of Telford Consultants, has a background in health service development initiatives and in leading innovation and change in a wide variety of organisations and cultures in New Zealand and Australia.
"In communities such as Central Lakes, primary and community services are critical to accessing health care and support," said Telford. "SDHB's Primary and Community Care Strategy aims to better match the needs of the population to the development of services and this locality network is a link between the community and service providers."
She added, "It's important [that] local people are involved. I am passionate about the health sector and this position provides opportunity to contribute and support the heath system from a different perspective."
The other eight CLLN members include Wanaka Medical nurse manager Maureen McNeill, and an Iwi representative will also be appointed.
CLLN, in its current form as it has previously existed, has been back in place for the last few months although only operational in the last week. “The group met in late July to kick start a programme of work focused on better distribution and integration of services,” Telford told the Wanaka Sun. “The group is considering a range of local issues, including: future-focused decision making for good population health outcomes, distribution of maternity and community services in our area, patient transport and technology’s impact on remote locations and better ways of working across the whole area for improved access to health and mental health services.”
As for maternity care services? “Maternity [is] definitely on the work programme and is a priority; the network will act as an advisory group to the process of co-design, consultation and implementation,” she said.