Mobile Surgical Bus Set to Keep on Trucking

Mark Eager

For the past seventeen years it’s been a regular sight on New Zealand’s roads, parking up alongside small-town hospitals and medical centres from Kaikohe to Balclutha, providing vital day surgery to almost 23,000 patients in need. Now the country’s first and only mobile surgical bus is set to continue its stellar service, thanks to the renewal of its Health Ministry contract.

Mobile Health runs the iconic surgical bus, along with medical education, telehealth and video services nationwide, ensuring that not only are patients able to receive the treatment they need closer to home, but that medical staff working in the regions are able to advance their knowledge and on-going professional development and video link education sessions, ensuring their skills are maximised.

The Ministry of Health has now renewed Mobile Health’s long-standing contract to ensure its surgical bus service, along with its telehealth and educational initiatives, can now be provided right through until June 30th 2019.

 “Over the last seventeen years the surgical bus has proven itself safe and cost-effective, with over 22,800 patients on elective surgery waiting lists being treated in rural areas” says Mobile Health Chief Executive Mark Eager. “We look forward to working with the Ministry over the next 12 months to develop plans which will shape the services we offer for the next five to ten years”.

While retaining its key focus of delivering same-day surgery to rural and regional patients in need, future plans could see a move into providing extra support for urban hospitals with surgical capacity issues. More recently the mobile bus has been utilised to provide additional elective surgical capacity in places such as South Auckland’s Manukau Super Clinic.

Mobile Health is delighted that the contract extension also includes further support for its rural health education hub (which has delivered over 93,000 hours of professional development and education to health professionals in 45 rural locations), as well as its Telehealth Resource Centre (www.telehealth.org.nz) which provides guidance and resources for people looking to set up, improve or use a telehealth service within New Zealand.