Cardiac unit to move
A restructure early next year of Waitakere Hospital's cardiology ward means West Auckland will be left without a Coronary Care Unit.
At the moment patients with a high risk of suffering a heart attack are monitored at Waitakere Hospital's emergency department and then transferred to catheter labs at either North Shore or Auckland Hospital.
Patients requiring a catheter lab within 72 hours or suffering cardiac conditions are monitored in the six bed Coronary Care Unit and across different wards before being transferred to other hospitals.
The restructure will see patients transferred directly to North Shore or Auckland Hospital.
Patients requiring long- term care will be admitted on to one ward at the Waitakere Hospital so the cardiology team can monitor them in one location. The health board says it will free up patient waiting time to less than 12 hours instead of between three and four days.
Nurses organisation delegate and coronary care nurse at Waitakere Hospital Alma Yusingco has worked in the unit since it opened in 2005.
She says the restructure will make the skills of nurses redundant as they leave the unit and work in the general medical ward.
"It took a while to build up the experienced nurses to provide a good service in this town.
"It's not good enough to destroy something that's stable and provides vital care to patients. It's really disheartening," she says.
Organiser of the New Zealand Nurses Organisation Adam Craigie says the restructure will impact Waitakere Hospital's emergency department and medical emergency response.
Mr Craigie says moving vital health services undermines access to healthcare for Waitakere residents.
"It will reduce the support that family of patients are able to give as they will have to travel much further to visit relatives in hospital, compromising patient care and recovery."
Waitakere Hospital head of division for medicine and health of older people Jonathan Christiansen says cardiology services will still remain at the hospital for West Auckland patients.
"We appreciate that change can be unsettling to staff and patients and people would like to see all cardiac services together locally but clinically, it's not the best idea," he says.
Dr Christiansen says Whangarei and Rotorua hospitals don't have catheter labs and the closest for patients is in Auckland.
"The people in the west have the advantage of having these critical services and resources on their front door step at both Auckland and North Shore hospitals."
About 17 positions will be disestablished in the restructure and five new positions opened for nurses on Waitakere's cardiology ward.