Hip-hop . . .

The Northland Age - - Local News - By Peter de Graaf

Hip-hop dancers from Kerik­eri and Hiku­rangi will dis­play what they’ve learnt over eight weeks with Demon­strate Da Flow at the Turner Cen­tre Plaza in Kerik­eri to­mor­row, 6.30pm, tick­ets $10 or $35 per fam­ily at the door (cash only). The Whangaroa Health Ser­vices Trust is in crisis fol­low­ing the res­ig­na­tion of its chief ex­ec­u­tive, chair­woman and many of its clin­i­cal staff.

No ex­pla­na­tion has been of­fered for the res­ig­na­tions of trust chief ex­ec­u­tive Mana Hape, who was ap­pointed in 2015, and chair­woman Vi­o­let Walker, although there has been an ex­o­dus of health pro­fes­sion­als and al­le­ga­tions that staff had been bul­lied.

An emer­gency meet­ing of the re­main­ing trust mem­bers was called in Kaeo on Mon­day night to de­cide the next steps.

The trust op­er­ates a hospi­tal and rest home at Kaeo, and delivers free pri­mary health care to more than 3000 peo­ple in the Whangaroa area. Pub­lic con­cern about the fu­ture pro­vi­sion of health care has been mount­ing in re­cent months with the de­par­ture of key clin­i­cal staff, in par­tic­u­lar long-serv­ing doc­tor Ali­son McAl­wee, the last re­main­ing GP, who is join­ing Broad­way Health, which has clin­ics in Kaikohe, Waipapa and Kaitaia.

Two more nurses are be­lieved to have re­signed last week.

Mem­bers of the pub­lic at a packed AGM on May 29 quizzed The Whangaroa Health Ser­vices Trust op­er­ates a med­i­cal cen­tre (pic­tured) and a rest home in Kaeo. Inset: Out­go­ing chief ex­ec­u­tive Mana Hape.

trust man­age­ment about Dr McAl­wee’s res­ig­na­tion and long wait­ing times to see a GP. It emerged that staff had writ­ten a 50-point let­ter of com­plaint al­leg­ing bul­ly­ing and rais­ing con­cerns about pa­tient safety, over­load­ing and a “blame cul­ture”.

The North­land DHB is as­sur­ing Whangaroa res­i­dents that they will still be able to see a doc­tor, Te Tai Tok­erau PHO hav­ing pre­pared a six-month ros­ter of locums from prac­tices around the Far North. DHB plan­ning man­ager John

Wans­bone said the pri­or­ity of all par­ties was to main­tain clin­i­cal ser­vices.

The DHB was aware of two res­ig­na­tions from the trust last week­end, and would be ad­vised later this week of the out­come of Mon­day night’s meet­ing. Mean­while Ernst and Young is con­duct­ing an in­de­pen­dent re­view of the trust on be­half of the DHB, the trust and the PHO, to es­tab­lish how pri­mary care ser­vices can be de­liv­ered in an ac­ces­si­ble way.

Mr Wans­bone would not say if he had seen a copy of the staff let­ter, but the board was “aware of the sig­nif­i­cant chal­lenges that Whangaroa Health Ser­vices Trust, its wider staff team and com­mu­nity are cur­rently fac­ing.”

The Ernst and Young re­view would in­clude meet­ing front­line staff and iwi to help en­sure the trust’s health ser­vices were “fit for pur­pose” for all users.

A Taupo Bay res­i­dent, who did not want to be named, said he was wor­ried by the res­ig­na­tion of a num­ber of GPs.

“There’s only one left, and now she’s re­signed . . . She’ll be missed, she’s bril­liant. She’s been here since the year dot,” he said.

He was also wor­ried that the trust’s mo­bile med­i­cal clinic, which used to call reg­u­larly at Taupo Bay and other iso­lated spots, could be lost due to a lack of staff and fund­ing.

This is not the first time the trust has faced con­tro­versy and heated pub­lic meet­ings. A pre­vi­ous chief ex­ec­u­tive, Garry Ware, re­signed sud­denly in 2013, and in re­cent years it has had to grap­ple with fund­ing cuts while health needs con­tinue to es­ca­late.

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