After-hours proposal is no trial, DHB confirms

BY ANDREA O'NEIL
Last updated 11:20 30/10/2012

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A plan to replace Kenepuru's overnight doctor with a roaming ambulance paramedic has come under fire from Porirua city councillors.

Porirua GP Larry Jordan, who is fronting the proposal, spoke to councillors at a meeting last Thursday alongside Capital & Coast District Health Board (CCDHB) chairwoman Virginia Hope and chief executive Mary Bonner.

An original February launch of the proposed ambulance service in Porirua has been called unrealistic by a working group assessing the proposal, Dr Jordan said.

Deputy mayor Liz Kelly said she was concerned that a pushed- back start date could coincide with winter, which was a stressful time for health providers.

The replacement of the A&M from 10pm to 8am with an ambulance would not be a trial, but a permanent move, Ms Bonner said.

That was a surprise to mayor Nick Leggett and Ms Kelly, who said CCDHB representatives talked about a trial at a public meeting in September.

A trial of the scheme had already been done on the Kapiti Coast and a report on it would be available in two months, Ms Bonner said. Re-establishing Kenepuru A&M once it closed would be difficult and would only be considered if the ambulance scheme "absolutely didn't work".

Later, in general business, councillor Ken Douglas said it was worrying the project was being driven by a medical professional, Dr Jordan, rather than by management staff with an overview of Porirua's health needs.

Ms Bonner and Dr Hope deferred to Dr Jordan many times during the councillors' questioning, he said.

"I was really quite disturbed at the lack of ownership or any real understanding via the chair Dr Virginia Hope and the chief executive Mary Bonner," he said.

Ms Bonner told Kapi-Mana News it was appropriate for Dr Jordan, as chair of the Porirua overnight urgent community care working group, to answer questions.

"It is disappointing that Mr Douglas has missed the key point of the collaborative and partnership approach," she said. "Clinicians in the local community are often best placed to understand the needs of their patients and the community."

We were unable to speak with Dr Jordan before press time.

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