Kenepuru after-hours gets reprieve

BY ANDREA O'NEIL
Last updated 10:14 04/12/2012

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Kenepuru's accident and medical clinic is to retain overnight opening, but its reprieve may be short-lived.

A working group of community leaders decided last week to keep the 10pm to 8am service, rejecting - or at least delaying - the proposal to replace the after-hours with a roving ambulance model.

But the Capital & Coast District Health Board insists the A&M's overnight service is unsustainable, and is continuing to review greater Wellington's after-hours delivery.

"The challenges in the provision of appropriate and sustainable after- hours healthcare remains an issue," said Porirua GP Lary Jordan and C&CDHB chief operating officer Chris Lowry, in a statement issued on Friday.

"We are committed to exploring new and innovative concepts in order to develop a robust regional service that is sustainable into the future."

The working group concluded the A&M service "should continue unchanged at this point in time, while acknowledging that the challenges in the provision of appropriate and sustainable after-hours healthcare remains an issue", Dr Jordan and Mr Lowry said.

Kenepuru after-hours doctor Rob Kieboom, who has been critical of the "roving paramedic" concept, said the C&CDHB's regional review of clinics meant the A&M was still under threat.

"To me, 'regional' still implies closing it and moving it to Wellington," he said. "Let's see what happens."

Dr Kieboom said the decision was good news in the short term for Porirua, however.

"I'm pleased for patients. In the end the winners are the patients - that's what it's all about."

Mayor Nick Leggett was happy to see the paramedic plan rejected.

"I'm really pleased that they have backed away from this decision. I have heard a lot of community concern about the idea of us losing our after hours medical service," he said.

There will always be after-hours care in Porirua, but its form may need to change, Mr Leggett said.

"I think as a community we do need to accept this and think about different ways of delivering services that are absolutely vital."

Mr Leggett hopes to establish a permanent community health forum next year to discuss how best to provide after hours care to the city.

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