Af­ter-hours may shut

Kapi-Mana News - - FRONT PAGE - TOM HUNT AND VIR­GINIA FAL­LON

‘‘Peo­ple of Porirua need a safe emer­gency ser­vice.’’

Tens of thou­sands of peo­ple, from Welling­ton’s north­ern sub­urbs to the Kapiti Coast, look set to lose ac­cess to af­ter-hours med­i­cal care.

The 24-hour med­i­cal centre at Kenepuru Hos­pi­tal has been hav­ing trou­ble with staffing at night, and is look­ing to close be­tween 11pm and 7am.

The Cap­i­tal & Coast District Health Board, which runs the centre, em­pha­sised that the par­tial clo­sure was only an idea, and the com­mu­nity would be asked for feed­back on var­i­ous op­tions.

But, Kapiti Grey Power presi- dent Kevin Bur­rows said he was dis­ap­pointed there had been no con­sul­ta­tion prior to the health board mak­ing an an­nounce­ment about the idea last week.

‘‘If they can­not find any­one to staff the clinic at night they should an­nounce pub­licly the ef­forts they have made and be clear and trans­par­ent.’’

Mana MP Kris Faafoi said he was scep­ti­cal of the board’s claim that staffing is­sues were to blame, and sug­gested the hos­pi­tal may be us­ing it as a ‘‘red her­ring’’ to dis­tract from its real de­sire to cut costs.

‘‘They need to con­vince us they re­ally are just con­sult­ing and it’s not al­ready a fait ac­com­pli.’’

But health board chair­woman Vir­ginia Hope said the prob­lem had been bought to the board as a staffing is­sue rather than a fi­nan­cial one.

‘‘Cost ef­fec­tive­ness is an is­sue for all of our ser­vices, and I can’t guar­an­tee there’s no con­ver­sa­tions around that, but the con­cern that’s been bought to the board is the dif­fi­culty of pro­vid­ing care.

She said the only de­ci­sion that had been made so far was one to ’’have dis­cus­sions with the com­mu­nity’’.

While one op­tion was clos­ing the ser­vice from 11pm to 7am, there was also the op­tion to re­tain it ‘‘to find some­thing to bet­ter serve the com­mu­nity’’.

Can­nons Creek GP Bryan Betty, who chairs the In­te­grated Care Col­lab­o­ra­tion, said that the city needed the ser­vice.

‘‘Peo­ple of Porirua need a safe emer­gency ser­vice. We need to go out to the com­mu­nity to dis­cusss [this].’’

Kenepuru Hos­pi­tal’s af­ter hours clinic has been hav­ing stff­ing trou­ble.

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