Mayor calls for full ED for Porirua


Porirua’s mayor says a ma­jor earth­quake will ren­der the city ’’an is­land with­out a hospi­tal’’.

Mike Tana is call­ing for a full emer­gency ser­vice to be pro­vided at Kenepuru Hospi­tal as part of prepa­ra­tion for when ‘‘the big one’’ hits.

‘‘We’ve been told we could be cut off from ev­ery­thing else and we need to be able to look af­ter our peo­ple.’’

But the Cap­i­tal & Coast District Health Board said the city would not be cut off by an earth­quake, as Kenepuru was well equipped to trans­form into an emer­gency ser­vice in a dis­as­ter.

Last week it was re­ported Welling­ton’s dis­as­ter plan­ners were pre­par­ing for the pos­si­bil­ity a ma­jor quake would frac­ture the re­gion so se­verely it would split into seven ‘‘is­lands’’.

The fear was a rup­ture of mag­ni­tude 7.5 or greater along the Welling­ton Fault could see Porirua cut off from the cap­i­tal – and its hospi­tal – by crum­bled in­fra­struc­ture.

Roads such as State High­way 1 would be in­ac­ces­si­ble in the event of an ad­ja­cent cliff fall­ing.

Tana said it made sense for a city the size of Porirua to have a fully-equipped hospi­tal and not to have to rely on Welling­ton Hospi­tal’s emer­gency ser­vice.

‘‘Ev­ery­one’s sinking money into mak­ing sure the build­ings aren’t go­ing to fall down around our ears, but noth­ing’s been done over med­i­cal care. We’re a grow­ing pop­u­la­tion, what’s the price of re­silience?’’

But CCDHB’s ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor strat­egy, in­no­va­tion and per­for­mance Rachel Hag­gerty said Kenepuru was equipped for a nat­u­ral dis­as­ter.

‘‘In the event of an emer­gency, like a ma­jor earth­quake, Kene- puru Hospi­tal would play a key role in pro­vid­ing emer­gency care. It is well equipped to re­spond in an emer­gency – it has op­er­at­ing theatres, emer­gency sup­plies, and a he­li­pad. It does not re­quire a per­ma­nent emer­gency depart­ment to do this.

‘‘Ad­di­tional re­sources, in­clud­ing staff, would be al­lo­cated de­pend­ing on the na­ture of the emer­gency, and the level of health ser­vices re­quired.’’ A per­ma­nent emer­gency ser­vice in Porirua would not be con­sid­ered by the board as it would be a du­pli­ca­tion of ser­vices when money could be bet­ter spent bol­ster­ing gen­eral prac­tice, she said.

‘‘An emer­gency depart­ment is more than just hav­ing staff on hand overnight, it is about hav­ing the spe­cial­ist equip­ment and fa­cil­i­ties avail­able on site to sup­port it.’’ This in­cluded a lab­o­ra­tory, X-rays, a range of spe­cial­ist doc­tors and the abil­ity to per­form ur­gent surgery.

In 2016, Kenepuru Hospi­tal’s af­ter-hours ser­vice was ear­marked for nightly clo­sure due to trou­ble staffing the night shifts.

Last week CCDHB an­nounced it would keep the af­ter-hours doc­tor ser­vices and in­crease staff on the late af­ter­noon to 11pm shift.

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