Kenepuru cuts denied
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.’’