31 August 2012:
The New Zealand Nurses Organisation (NZNO), the union and professional voice for nurses, is shocked that Capital and Coast DHB (CCDHB) is considering removing the last after-hours health service in the Porirua area.
The DHB made the decision to investigate the possibility of replacing after hours services with a roving paramedic service for over 100 000 people at a secret Board meeting and are not considering any other options.
NZNO organiser, Laura Thomas says, “We can’t help but wonder what would happen if the DHB decided to do the same in Wellington. That wouldn't even be entertained. The DHB seems to think that it’s ok to disadvantage a low socio-economic population with high health needs though.”
“Residents in the region north of Wellington suffer some of the highest rates of preventable illness in New Zealand and yet their current after-hours health service is not free and now the DHB is trying to take it away altogether.”
“NZNO urges the DHB to ensure everyone in their catchment can access the health care they need when and where they need it, not downgrade it,” Thomas says.
“Demand on the current service is increasing and the DHB should be facilitating easier access to it.”
“We are also sceptical of the reasons for the change put forward by the DHB. It is our understanding that the current after-hours service is entirely cost-effective and that cutting it would only increase pressure on an already stretched emergency department at Wellington Hospital.”
“NZNO will be continuing to urge the DHB to consider proposals that would prioritise the health of the residents of Kapiti and Porirua. We will not let 100 000 people become the victims of short-sighted ‘cost-cutting’ measures.”