Unit loss 'disheartening'
West Auckland patients with serious heart conditions will soon be taken directly to the North Shore instead of Waitakere Hospital's Coronary Care Unit.
The new model of care will be implemented in April after the unit is disestablished to form the Assessment Diagnostic and Cardiology Unit.
Waitakere Hospital head of division for medicine and health of older people Jonathan Christiansen says the new approach means patients will have rapid and direct access to treatments available at the North Shore Hospital's cardiac catheter lab.
"It will speed up the time it takes for patients to be diagnosed and treated, improving the prospect of good outcomes."
But nurses organisation delegate and Waitakere Hospital coronary care nurse Alma Yusingco says the restructure is disheartening and 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 and it's not good enough to destroy something that's stable and provides vital care to patients," she says.
Dr Christiansen says the new model will include the expansion of six existing Coronary Care Unit beds into 10 cardiology beds in the hospital's Assessment and Diagnostic Unit.
He says it will free up patient waiting time to less than 12 hours instead of between three and four days.
At the moment patients are monitored at Waitakere Hospital's emergency department and then transferred to catheter labs at either North Shore or Auckland hospitals.
Patients requiring a catheter lab within 72 hours or suffering cardiac conditions are monitored in the Coronary Care Unit and across different wards before being transferred to other hospitals.
Dr Christiansen says the new model will allow the specialist cardiology medical team to care for patients in one location instead of spread across the general medical wards.
The change will affect about 180 West Auckland patients a year who are at high risk of suffering a heart attack.
All other aspects of the hospital's cardiology services including outpatient clinics, echocardiograms and treadmill testing will remain unchanged.
About 17 positions will be disestablished in the restructure and five new positions opened for nurses on the cardiology ward.