Call for 24-hour service

ACTION NEEDED: Lindsay Clark wants better medical facilities in Hibiscus Coast for his son Ryder and daughter Dayna.
ACTION NEEDED: Lindsay Clark wants better medical facilities in Hibiscus Coast for his son Ryder and daughter Dayna.

Residents are calling for a 24-hour medical service on the Hibiscus Coast.

But the Waitemata District Health Board says effective after-hours cover already exists, with four 24-hour medical facilities in addition to the two emergency departments at Waitakere and North Shore hospitals.

Hatfields Beach resident Lindsay Clark says the service is not providing effective cover. A number of Rodney and Hibiscus Coast residents, including Lindsay Clark of Hatfields Beach, say the service is not providing effective cover.

Waitakere Hospital and Henderson White Cross are a stone's throw away from each other on Lincoln Rd in Henderson, he says.

North Shore Hospital and Shore Care Smales Farm in Takapuna face each other across Taharoto Rd.

That leaves Coast to Coast Care in Wellsford, and an on-call service in Helensville provided by GPs in Henderson, which is not a walk-in service.

"I've got two kids and if I need to get them urgent medical treatment then it is going to be half an hour in non-peak traffic to North Shore Hospital and that concerns me," Clark says.

The Hibiscus Coast is one of the fastest growing areas in New Zealand and has a higher than average number of people at risk of requiring medical treatment in the under-5 and over-65 age groups, he says.

Nearly 20,000 people are expected to move to the area over the coming years and Clark would like to see the health board do something sooner rather than later.

Karlie Spain of Stanmore Bay says a 24-hour service and improved existing facilities are needed.

Her three children have asthma and developed respiratory illnesses and croup from living in their previous Red Beach home which was damp.

She bundled up her 18-month-old daughter Lotus who was 5 months when she got croup and took her to Coastcare Accident and Medical Centre which closes at 8pm.

"I got there a few minutes before 8pm and they had already shut, and everyone was gone.

"I've had to make so many trips to Smales Farm as that is the closest 24/7 after hours care we have. I find it ridiculous we have enough population on the Hibiscus Coast alone to support five, soon to be six, supermarkets - but we can't have a medical service after 8pm."

Three weeks ago her 21-year-old stepdaughter had a serious asthma attack at 8.30pm on a week night and had to be taken to North Shore Hospital.

"We were in the hospital for seven hours to get her treatments they could have done at an A&E if it was open," Spain says.

Health board funding director Dr Debbie Holdsworth says current arrangements for access to 24/7 care more than meet Ministry of Health requirements and are better than many other DHBs.

"If a private provider were to see an opportunity to further enhance after-hours cover, we would be keen to meet them.

"Waitemata DHB is working with the after-hours network to look at future after-hours needs as our population continues to grow," Holdsworth says.

Rodney Times