Kenepuru cuts de­nied

Kapi-Mana News - - FRONT PAGE - By KRIS DANDO

Ser­vice cuts at Kenepuru Hos­pi­tal will not be hap­pen­ing, the lo­cal health board as­sures, de­spite anx­i­ety from Porirua’s mayor and the area’s MP over a lack of pub­lic in­for­ma­tion about the hos­pi­tal’s fu­ture.

Mayor Nick Leggett wrote to Cap­i­tal & Coast District Health board chair­per­son Vir­ginia Hope in De­cem­ber, con­cerned about on­go­ing ru­mours around re­duced surg­eries and fewer med­i­cal beds. He never re­ceived a re­ply then, or when he re-sent his letter in Fe­bru­ary.

Both he and MP Kris Faafoi say they have sources at Kenepuru and in gov­ern­ment de­part­ments, warn­ing them that ser­vices at Kenepuru face the chop.

‘‘Un­til they see fit to darken my door, I’m not sat­is­fied,’’ Mr Leggett told Kapi-Mana News. ‘‘We’re not ask­ing for the world, but a di­a­logue so we can as­sure peo­ple and help de­velop some kind of plan for the hos­pi­tal that suits our com­mu­nity’s needs. When an elected chair ig­nores let­ters and re­quests to come out and talk it is go­ing to raise ques­tions.’’

Mr Faafoi says Health Min­is­ter Tony Ryall and C&CDHB ‘‘ have re­fused to cat­e­gor­i­cally rule out cuts in the fu­ture’’. While Mr Ryall told him at a health se­lect com­mit­tee that no cuts were in the off­ing, he is not sat­is­fied and vows to go down the Of­fi­cial In­for­ma­tion Act route to get fur­ther an­swers.

‘‘Cap­i­tal & Coast is un­der huge cost pres­sures, they have debt to pay off and the money they have this year goes nowhere near it. Our com­mu­ni­ties in Porirua, Kapiti and Welling­ton’s north­ern sub­urbs rely on Kenepuru and we’re get­ting anec­do­tal ev­i­dence that ser­vices will be pulled,’’ said Mr Faafoi. Both he and Mr Leggett say this is­sue tran­scends any po­lit­i­cal bound­aries.

Mr Leggett: ‘‘It’s not po­lit­i­cal at all. They are an elected health board, they need to ful­fil their du­ties and en­gage with the com­mu­nity. Please come and talk to us.’’

Cap­i­tal & Coast chief ex­ec­u­tive Mary Bon­ner says there will be no de­crease in med­i­cal beds or day surgery, ‘‘as these are re­quired from a ca­pac­ity point of view and can­not be sup­ported on the Welling­ton Re­gional Hos­pi­tal cam­pus [in New­town]’’.

Ms Bon­ner also says Kenepuru will pro­vide the spe­cial­ist re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion and older per­sons ser­vices for the DHB. They are com­mit­ted to meet­ing their fi­nan­cial tar­gets, as well as pri­or­i­ties of ‘‘bet­ter, soon, more con­ve­nient’’.

Ms Hope was un­able to meet with Mr Leggett due to ‘‘sched­ul­ing conflicts’’ but it is hoped Cap­i­tal & Coast se­nior staff, in­clud­ing Kenepuru op­er­a­tions man­ager Jen­nifer Bo­ryer, will do so as early as this week.

Mana-based Na­tional MP Hekia Parata waded into the de­bate, say­ing that fig­ures show Kenepuru is ac­tu­ally car­ry­ing out more surg­eries, up 57 per cent in the last two years. Among oth­ers, neu­rol­ogy clin­ics, new­born hear­ing clin­ics, four new ob­ser­va­tion beds and a pain man­age­ment clinic have been in­tro­duced.

‘‘In the last two years the num­ber of out­pa­tient con­sul­ta­tions car­ried out has also in­creased by 30 per cent. De­spite the dif­fi­cult eco­nomic cli­mate our Gov­ern­ment is in­vest­ing more in health­care and the [ health board] is de­liv­er­ing more ser­vices, with some great re­sults for our com­mu­nity.’’

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