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Right care, right time – new ultrasound machine making a difference in Kaikōura

It has only been part of the family for a few months, but already Kaikōura Health’s new ultrasound machine has proven an invaluable asset to the team – and the community.

“We use it multiple times every week.  It really is making a significant difference in ensuring patients get the right care at the right time,” says Kaikōura Health Doctor Andrea Judd.

And now Kaikōura Health has been able to recognise and thank the organisations who made the purchase of this new machine possible.

Māia Health Foundation purchased the ultrasound machine for Kaikōura Health thanks to substantial donations of $22,000 each from Pegasus Health and MainPower and an individual donation from Gerald and Peggy Salkeld.

The machine was installed at Kaikōura Health in March, however the nationwide lockdown meant hopes for an official unveiling were dashed.  However in late July that was rectified, with MainPower Chief Executive Andy Lester, the MainPower executive leadership team, Pegasus Health CEO Vince Barry and Anna Galvan and Michael Flatman from Māia Health Foundation travelling to Kaikōura to meet the Kaikōura Health team.

MainPower CE Andy Lester says it was important to MainPower to visit Kaikōura Health to see the team, and the machine, in action.

“It was amazing to see this essential piece of equipment in action and to hear how much of a difference it has made to the patient experience and patient outcomes. We’re proud that we played a part in providing this to the community, ” says Andy.

Since March the new ultrasound machine has been rolled out many times a week to be used as both a diagnostic and a treatment tool.  In a number of cases it has been used to diagnose abdominal pain or to check for gall bladder infections and for patients with difficult veins the machine has enabled a line to be established for vascular access.

It has also been used in the treatment of accident victims to check for internal injuries and, in one case, to diagnose an acute eye condition.

Doctor Andrea Judd says that while Covid-19 and lockdown has slowed their training on the new machine, the machine has already made a significant difference in terms of improved diagnosis and more definitive treatment.

“For some patients this has meant we have saved them a trip to Christchurch.  For others, it enabled us to make a more rapid assessment so they could get there faster to access the treatment they needed.  But in every case it has not only improved the experience for our patients and our community but has also enabled us to more cost-effectively utilise the health dollar.  We also know as we become more skillled at using this machine we will be able to use it in many other situations,” says Dr Judd.

Māia Health Foundation Chief Executive Michael Flatman says there’s no doubt the purchase of this machine has fulfilled Māia’s mission of taking our health services from good to great.

“Thanks to MainPower, Pegasus Health and the Salkeld family we have enabled Kaikōura Health to provide a higher level of care to their community – helping the dedicated medical team there provide the right care at the right place and the right time.  Kaikōura is a special community and an important part of the Canterbury DHB territory and we look forward to spendng more time working with, and for, this community into the future,” says Michael.

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