Near miss for twin brothers
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
THE PETITION SAYS:
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