Christchurch urologist Stu Gowland, who developed the country’s first mobile surgical bus, is stepping down as Mobile Health’s managing director but will be continuing as medical director.
Mark Eager, has been appointed as chief executive of Mobile Health. Mark has been with the surgical bus organisation for 10 years.
Gowland, a real Kiwi medical pioneer, was a founding member of the New Zealand Urology Associates.
He campaigned with others for improved health on various issues at Christchurch hospital in the 1990s and was the driving force to set up New Zealand’s first mobile surgical unit 15 years ago, board chair Keith Smith says.
“Stu, with colleagues, starting the planning of the surgical bus on a marked-out lawn and 15 years on the bus has performed more than 21,500 procedures all over New Zealand. So much of the credit goes to Stu’s vision, foresight and medical knowledge. Many Kiwis in rural areas are very grateful to him.
“He has been recognised in the New Year’s Honours list with a Queens Service Order (QSO) and by the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons for his exceptional contribution to rural health with their Outstanding Services to the Community Award.”
The mobile operating theatre was built to enable free access to low-risk elective day surgery for rural New Zealanders. Today the surgical bus regularly visits 23 small towns and community areas around New Zealand.
Gowland established the first mobile kidney stone treatment (lithotriptsy) service in 1995 providing a nationwide, non-invasive treatment using focussed sound waves for kidney stones. To date about 12,000 patients have been treated with this world wide used technology.
The surgical unit runs on a five-week rotation system around New Zealand, carrying out operations over a day at Kaikohe, Dargaville, Warkworth, Pukekohe, Te Puia, Wairoa, Taumarunui, Waipukurau, Taihape, Hawera, Levin, Dannevirke, Kapiti, Featherston, Takaka, Motueka, Buller, Waikari, Rangiora, Oamaru, Clyde, Queenstown, Balclutha and Gore.