After-hours may shut
‘‘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.