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Mobile surgery chalks up milestone

Up to eight patients visit the surgeons in the mobile surgical bus every time it stops at Oamaru Hospital.

Yesterday the mobile surgery - running since March 2003 - clocked up its 1007th patient at Oamaru.

The bus visits Oamaru Hospital, and its catchment of 22,000 people, once every five weeks as it tours 23 hospitals nationwide.

Waitaki District Health Services chief executive Robert Gonzales, of Oamaru, called the bus an ''amazing service'' at a short ceremony to mark the 1000 milestone at the 30 bed hospital yesterday.

Nevertheless, Mr Gonzales said he would prefer to see the bus visit more often, as it was important for rural people to receive care ''as close to home as possible''.

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