Move to close A&M overnight
Kenepuru Hospital’s overnight accident and medical clinic may be closed and replaced by roving paramedics.
Capital and Coast District Health Board is to consider a proposal from medical advisory group Integrated Care Collaborative (ICC), to close the A&M clinic between 10pm and 8am.
Porirua and north Wellington residents in need of medical assistance would instead be expected to call Wellington Free Ambulance or travel to Wellington Regional Hospital in Newtown.
The overnight A&M clinic is considered too costly.
The ICC proposal is still at a conceptual stage.
The group intends to develop overnight primary healthcare services that best meet the needs of patients who cannot be safety deferred to when their regular GP is available.
The paramedic service would be based on the Urgent Community Care model operating in Kapiti.
People needing medical assistance would be assessed by a nurse over the phone and visited by paramedics if required.
The service is expected to be free to residents and delivered in their own homes.
Porirua GP Larry Jordan, a member of the ICC, told Fairfax Media last week details were still to be developed.
There would be public consultation, probably before the end of the year.
Dr Rob Kieboom, who has worked at the A&M clinic for five years, has questioned whether paramedics would have the skills and equipment necessary to treat acute patients at home, and that Porirua’s infants, toddlers, old and frail deserved better.
Maori and Pacific Island children had high rates of meningitis, rheumatic fever, acute respiratory distress and sepsis [blood poisoning] and older patients had a high incidence of strokes, heart attacks and acute abdominal pain, he told Fairfax Media.
‘‘These sort of patients present to the centre overnight. These patients cannot wait for . . . a paramedic to come to their house.’’
Mayor Nick Leggett said he was keeping an open mind about the proposal, anticipating the findings of a community working group investigating the new model.
‘‘What I will be looking for is that the community will either keep or improve the level of service it enjoys with the after-hours currently.’’
Although a similar ambulance service was working well in Kapiti, with such a different demographic up the coast there was no guarantee of success in Porirua, Mr Leggett said.
Kapi-Mana News was to meet with members of the Integrated Care Collaborative today to discuss the proposal.
Visit www.kapimananews.co.nz for updated coverage.