Waitaki District Health Services


Hospital Visiting Hours are now 2.00pm-4.00pm and 6.00pm to 8.00pm. Two visitors allowed at any one time.

Waitaki District Health Services Appoints New CEO - 26th Jun 2020

Waitaki District Health Services Appoints New CEO

The Chair of Waitaki District Health Services Limited (WDHSL), Paul Allison, today announced the appointment of Phil Jamieson, to the role of CEO of the organisation.

 “After an extensive search and selection process, the Board is delighted to announce Phil Jamieson as the CEO, replacing Ruth Kibble, who returns to the South Canterbury District Health Board when her 24-month seconded period finishes at the end of this month.” Mr. Allison said.  

“Phil brings extensive commercial leadership experience to Waitaki District Health Services, having held senior roles in New Zealand, the United Kingdom and Asia, across industries ranging from the primary sector, government, retail and banking”.

Jamieson’s early career included assisting in the creation of Auckland’s new mega hospital, which integrated the services of National Women’s Hospital, Greenlane and Auckland hospital onto one site. In his current role, he is Executive General Manager of Development at SBS Bank, where he has spent seven years, leading strategy, planning, marketing, communications, product management, business intelligence and change delivery.   

The Board acknowledged Ruth Kibble for her contribution in leading Waitaki District Health Services Limited since September 2018 during which time she has led significant change and they also conveyed their best wishes to her as she returns to her role in the Strategic Leadership Team of South Canterbury District Health Board.

Mr. Jamieson and his family are looking forward to relocating to Oamaru where he will commence his new role with Waitaki District Health Services Limited on 31 August 2020.  It has been arranged for Debi Lawry, Associate General Manager Rural Health, with support from Karl Metzler, CEO Gore Health, to provide CEO cover in the interim.  

 “I have a real passion for health care and it is a privilege to join the WDHSL team, working to ensure optimum delivery of health services to the Waitaki community” Mr. Jamieson said.

Waitaki Mayor, Gary Kircher, welcomed the news of Mr Jamieson’s appointment.  

“The hospital has been going through difficult times and continues to face financial challenges. Mr Jamieson not only brings impressive financial skills to the role, but also very good communication and team-building skills. I look forward to welcoming him to the Waitaki District as he takes up this very important role in our community.”

Oamaru Hospital Visiting Hours – Level 1 - 12th Jun 2020

Under Covid Level 1 hospital visiting will be as follows:

  • Visiting hours: 2.00pm – 4.00pm and 6.00pm – 8.00pm
  • Two visitors per patient. This also ensures our vulnerable patients are getting the appropriate amount of rest.

Notices outside the doors will guide you to the area you need to be.

0800 VIRUS19 - New call centre, 0800 number streamlines assessment and referrals for possible COVID-19 testing - 14th Apr 2020

0800 VIRUS19 - New call centre, 0800 number streamlines assessment and referrals for possible COVID-19 testing

A new centralised call service and free phone number – 0800 VIRUS19 (0800 847 8719) – is helping streamline assessment and possible testing for COVID-19 in the Southern region.

The new service based at WellSouth’s Dunedin office began receiving calls on Thursday and is making it easier for patients to inquire about and to access COVID-19 testing. The new service also helps ensure that patients who don’t need testing, will not have to ‘leave their bubble’ unnecessarily.

Six phone lines are staffed by clinicians who assess and triage patients and refer, where appropriate, for testing. Patients can go on to be tested at a Community Based Assessment Centre (CBAC), their own general practice or a designated practice, whichever is most appropriate and convenient.

“We want to encourage patients with COVID-19 symptoms to get tested - and we want to help that happen as safely as possible,” says Stephen Graham, WellSouth Medical Director.

“By centralising calls, we can make it quicker and easier for people to understand if they need to be tested and if so where is the best place for them to go.”

Testing for COVID-19 is being conducted by most general practices, at three CBACs in the Southern region – in Dunedin, Queenstown and Invercargill. There are also six Designated Practices where people who don’t have a GP, or who don’t know who their doctor is, can be referred for testing. These are: Fiordland Medical Centre, He Puna Waiora Wellness Centre, Kurow Medical, Mosgiel Health Centre, Te Kāika, and Wanaka/Aspiring medical centres.

“General practice teams and primary care providers are doing an amazing job of supporting patients and families in Otago and Southland during the COVID-19 outbreak and we want to help support them to do their work,” Dr Graham says.

“Patients should continue to call Healthline (0800 358 5453) or their own general practice for advice. But 0800VIRUS19 is another resource at their disposal.”


Who should get tested?


Covid-19 Case Definition Criteria: (As of 14 April):

Primary COVID-19 symptoms are a fever, sore throat, dry cough and/or trouble breathing.

Other symptoms may include headache, body aches, nausea/diarrhoea, irritability/confusion not explained by a medical condition.

(Taken from the most recent case


Please note the COVID-19 case definition and testing protocols are constantly evolving.

These criteria may change. Updates will be documented at the direction of public health officials. Subject to change according to the direction of the Medical Officer of Health.)



Moira Finn, Senior Communications Advisor, WellSouth

Welfare Assistance Available - 8th Apr 2020

New Zealand is now at Level 4 COVID-19 alert system. We need your support to protect New Zealand and eradicate COVID-19.

Everyone must now stay home, except those providing essential services.

Only make physical contact with those that you live with.

If you are at risk and do not have support of friends, family or neighbours, help is available. Please contact the Otago COVID-19 Help Centre on

0800 322 4000 or email help@otagocdem.govt.nz. We will work with you to identify your needs and put a plan in place to support you.

People without easy access to healthcare  For more information go to www.otagocdem.govt.nz

Help is available. Call 0800 322 4000 or email help@otagocdem.govt.nz



Ensuring Support is Available for Those Most in Need   - 1st Apr 2020

Ensuring Support is Available for Those Most in Need  

With the country in lock down many minds are turning to the elderly and vulnerable who may be without assistance at this time. 

Civil Defence and Emergency Management Otago acknowledges that it is natural and admirable to want to support others but is asking that people direct their efforts to the right place. 

“First and foremost, the best thing everyone can do to help one another is follow the Ministry of Health advice on staying healthy and staying in your bubble,” said CDEM Group Controller Richard Saunders.  

“Once you are sure you have your own health in hand, call or text friends, whānau and neighbours to see if anyone in your local networks needs support but make sure you follow the health guidance.” 

That guidance is to: 

  • Leave groceries at the door, rather than come in. Drop-off at the door (rather than coming in) will protect vulnerable people from exposure to COVID-19
  • Stay at least two metres away from people who are outside your own bubble
  • Use phones or online ways to keep in communication with those you are supporting
  • Maintain good hand hygiene. Wash your hands often using soap for 20 seconds and dry them. 


For those who can provide additional support, Mr Saunders asks them to register their availability with Volunteering Otago and Volunteering Central (for Central Otago and the Queenstown Lakes District), the organisations coordinating volunteer efforts on behalf of CDEM Otago. 

“It’s critical that our volunteering efforts are coordinated and carried out safely if we are to maintain the requirements around physical distancing. Volunteering Otago and Volunteering Central are the experts when it comes to coordinating volunteers and we are asking anyone who wants to assist the civil defence response to register with them first.” 

“Our emergency operations centres in each of the districts have been working with them to provide volunteers to those in need and give them the appropriate guidance to protect them and those they are working with.” 



Mr Saunders said that each of the local councils were receiving requests for welfare support from their communities and continuing to provide this was a priority for CDEM Otago. 

“We know there are vulnerable people in our community who are without support at this time. We are working closely with the Ministry of Social Development, local councils, NGOs and welfare agencies across the region to identify these people and connect them with the support they require.

“A regional COIVD 19 help centre has been set up in Otago and will operate 7am to 7pm, 7 days a week to receive requests for welfare assistance.” 

Mr Saunders said anyone requiring welfare support at this time should in the first instance email help@otagocdem.govt.nz or call 0800 322 4000 for more information on how to get support.   

Mr Saunders acknowledged the Dunedin City Council who had offered to staff the call centre on behalf of the region.

“Dunedin City Council has put their hands up to manage the call centre for the region. Requests will then be passed on to the civil defence teams in each of the district or city councils who will respond to the welfare needs identified.”


For more information please contact:  

Public Information Team  

027 605 2113 or Michele Poole 027 839 8306

Additional Clinical space to keep Oamaru’s ED COVID-19 free - 1st Apr 2020

Additional Clinical space to keep Oamaru’s ED COVID-19 free


The Oamaru hospital has been taking additional steps to maintain the Emergency Department (ED) a COVID-19 free zone for as long as possible. As of today, April 1st 2020 a green bright tent, which is kindly supplied by St John, has been set up by the side door of ED.


The tent will provide appropriate clinical space for hospital staff to see people that show symptoms of COVID-19 or have other infectious conditions. It will be used to take swabs as well as the history of the patient in cases where this is clinically indicated. This will help streamline services as Oamaru Hospital expects to see more potential Covid-19 cases in coming days, especially since primary care testing is expected to increase with the announcements yesterday regarding testing rules.

If unwell, the public are directed to present themselves to the side door of ED.   From there, staff will give further instructions whether to enter ED or the tent.   The hospital does ask at this time for our community to help us by in the first place unless it is an emergency, if you are feeling unwell, please call your GP or Healthline on XXX at anytime. There is a GP available at all times.

“The hospital has arranged security presence around the tent”, said Chief Executive of Waitaki District Health Services Ruth Kibble. “It is crucial that no one is entering the tent without being instructed to do so.”

Waitaki District Health Services would like to sincerely thank St John for the loan of this tent in this crucial time.


Waitaki District Health Services Limited is not allowing visitors to Oamaru Hospital except on compassionate grounds. Visitors allowed on compassionate grounds are limited to those residing in the patient’s household. We are making exceptions to the household rule for those patients who live alone and have limited access to alternative support networks.

All visitors are being assessed through a series of questions for COVID -19 and their details are recorded. If they are unwell, they are not able to visit.  We ask people need to phone 433-0290 if they fit the above criteria and wish to visit.


26 March 2020


Oamaru Hospital is in lock-down mode and is operating, in conjunction with the rest of the Southern Health System, the Waitaki District Council and Civil Defence through its Emergency Operations Centre (EOC).

Waitaki District Health Services Chief Executive Officer, Ruth Kibble, says this will mean significant changes in which the hospital operates and these include an end to all visits unless prior arrangements have been made with staff and all external doors are now locked with access managed by clinical staff.

Most Outpatients Clinics have been deferred and clients with appointments will be contacted directly.

Mrs Kibble says the Emergency Department continues to operate and access is via a side door adjacent to the department and access is by ringing a bell.

However, Mrs Kibble asks if the need is not urgent people seeking treatment should contact their own doctor. For people who don’t have a doctor, there will be a GP on duty at all times.

There are five carparks next to the Emergency Department and people may be asked to wait in their cars until staff can see them.

Mrs Kibble says Radiology is making only urgent imaging and the hospital is working with the Waitaki District Council to make car parking available on Severn Street. People with radiology appointments will be asked to wait in their vehicle and be escorted inside.

Mrs Kibble says Meals on Wheels will continue and she has singled out Murray Bell from Whitestone Taxis for particular praise. “Everyone is doing a fantastic job in this time of crisis, but Whitestone Taxis are going that extra distance by delivering the meals free of charge. We thank Murray and his small team from the bottom of our hearts for this. It is a superb gesture.”

Mrs Kibble says nothing can stop baby arriving, so the Maternity Ward continues to operate, but there will be a reduction in face-to-face contact and a reduction in the number of visitors.

Mrs Kibble says the hospital will not be making public comment about matters that are being covered nationally, nor will it be announcing if there are any COVID-19 patients in this area.

“Those announcements will be made from Wellington,” says Mrs Kibble.

“However, we will be keeping our community aware of any information that is specific to the Waitaki District.”

A complete list of the changes in the Hospital’s operation is appended.


For further information please contact:

Ruth Kibble

Chief Executive Officer

Waitaki District Health Services Limited

E:  ruth.kibble@southerndhb.govt.nz

M:  027 237 5252




  1. Oamaru Hospital is working in conjunction with the Southern Health System to plan our responses to this pandemic.  This means we are no operating alone and our planning is aligned to what is happening in the rest of the Southern Health System.
  2. Since Monday 16th March this has been managed under our Emergency Operations Centre (EOC).  Health is the lead agency for this pandemic and planning.  We are working in conjunction with Waitaki District Council and Civil Defence.
  3. Oamaru Hospital will not be making public statements about matters that are being covered nationally, but we will keep our community informed of any specific information relating to the Waitaki District.
  4. Oamaru Hospital has now amended its operations as below:
    1. No visitors to either the ward or maternity unless prior arrangements have been made with staff.  If you are unwell, you are asked to stay away from any visiting;
    2. All external doors are locked and access managed by clinical teams;
    3. Most Outpatient clinics have been deferred.  People with appointments will be contacted directly;
    4. Emergency Department (ED) is open and access is through the side door to ED.  You will need to ring a bell to get access;
      1. If your need is not serious or an emergency – please phone your GP.  If you do not have a GP there is a duty GP on at all times;
      2. There are five Park 30 parks outside ED in the carpark for you to park;
      3. You may be asked to wait in your car until staff can see you
    5. Radiology will be undertaking urgent imaging only.  Appoints will be made and we are working with council to get some parks on Severn Street available so people with appointments can wait in their car and be escorted in the side door to the service;
    6. Meals on Wheels is continuing. These will be delivered by Whitestone Taxis from tomorrow;
    7.  District Nursing is continuing and we are prioritising our workload.  Staff will call first to ensure you are well prior to visiting;
    8. Allied Health Services – A lot of this work has been cancelled but essential supports will be in place for equipment that enables a person to remain at home, as opposed to being admitted;
    9. Maternity is operating, however they are reducing face to face contacts.  There are restrictions on visitors and support persons during birth








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