Near miss for twin broth­ers

Kapiti Observer - - FRONT PAGE - VIR­GINIA FAL­LON

Al­most 20 per cent of Kapiti’s pop­u­la­tion have signed a pe­ti­tion call­ing for a public hos­pi­tal to be built in Para­pa­raumu.

Back­ers say the Kapiti Coast needs its own com­mu­nity hos­pi­tal, with the dis­trict’s dis­tance from Welling­ton putting pa­tients at risk.

‘‘We get strong mes­sages about the ‘golden hour’ be­ing so im­por­tant af­ter a stroke,’’ Dis­abil­ity Ac­cess Ad­vi­sory Group spokes­woman Sue Emer­ali said.

‘‘Our golden hour is spent get­ting to Welling­ton Hos­pi­tal.’’

Emer­ali is one of the peo­ple be­hind the pe­ti­tion, which launched on July 12 and has gar­nered more than 10,500 sig­na­tures al­ready.

The pe­ti­tion will be handed to the in­com­ing govern­ment af­ter Septem­ber’s elec­tion.

The Kapiti Coast has a grow­ing pop­u­la­tion, cur­rently sit­ting at 53,000. Mayor K Gu­runathan said the area was lag­ging in med­i­cal ser­vices, and had a ‘‘crit­i­cal need’’ for a 24-hour emer­gency ser­vice.

The Kapiti Health Clinic, which of­fers only out­pa­tient ser­vices, was not enough, he said. ‘‘Ob­vi­ously it’s not cop­ing enough, be­cause it’s al­ready chocka.’’

Emer­ali said fear of be­ing cut off from Welling­ton Hos­pi­tal in a dis­as­ter was a rea­son cited by many who signed the pe­ti­tion. ‘‘Give us the in­fra­struc­ture to be pre­pared. Kapiti is not Welling­ton.’’

There were no med­i­cal cen­tres open in Kapiti af­ter 10pm, some­thing that wor­ried res­i­dents. ‘‘Peo­ple, es­pe­cially chil­dren, are al­ways sick at night and it’s too far to go.’’

Otaki res­i­dents were cur­rently zoned for Palmer­ston North Hos­pi­tal, which she said needed to change.

‘‘When they get the ex­press­way fin­ished, it will be 12 min­utes for Otaki peo­ple to travel to Para­pa­raumu, in­stead of an hour to Palmer­ston North.’’

Welling­ton Free Am­bu­lance ex­ec­u­tive man­ager of clin­i­cal


30 per cent of Kapiti’s pop­u­la­tion have a dis­abil­ity, com­pared with 24 per cent na­tion­wide.

46 per cent of Kapiti peo­ple with a dis­abil­ity are over 65.

More than 7000 peo­ple from Kapiti were sent to Welling­ton Hos­pi­tal by am­bu­lance last year. ser­vices Paul Fake said Kapiti res­i­dents were not miss­ing out on the golden hour – the first hour af­ter a trau­matic brain in­jury, when emer­gency treat­ment is most likely to be suc­cess­ful. ’’We’re al­ready pro­vid­ing 24/7 cov­er­age through our am­bu­lance sta­tion based there.’’

Di­rect ad­mis­sion to hos­pi­tal care, paramedics and the emer­gency he­li­copter were all avail­able for Kapiti pa­tients in the case of ma­jor trauma.

How­ever, Kapiti Coast Grey Power pres­i­dent Kevin Bur­rows echoed Emer­ali’s com­ments about the golden hour, say­ing: ‘‘It takes well over an hour for an am­bu­lance to get from Kapiti to Welling­ton.’’

Gu­runathan said Cap­i­tal & Coast Dis­trict Health Board fig­ures showed Kapiti res­i­dents trav­elled to 40,000 ap­point­ments at Welling­ton and Kenepuru hos­pi­tals in the past year, and he ex­pected num­bers to rise as the pop­u­la­tion grew.

‘‘We have par­tic­u­lar needs with more than 26 per cent of our pop­u­la­tion over 65 years old. You can’t talk about growth while ig­nor­ing the ser­vices.’’

DHB spokes­woman Rachel Hag­gerty said the board was com­mit­ted to de­liv­er­ing ser­vices and sup­port­ing com­mu­ni­ties. She said it pro­vided ser­vices in Kapiti for around 18 spe­cial­i­ties, as well as di­ag­nos­tic ser­vices.

‘‘We are con­tin­u­ally re­assess­ing our re­gion’s needs and look­ing at what in­vest­ments we can make to en­sure our com­mu­ni­ties re­main well-ser­viced and can ac­cess the health ser­vices they re­quire.’’

Kapiti Mayor K Gu­runathan

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