Questions to ask about Kenepuru A&M closure

Touch of Grey

BY KILIAN DE LACY
Last updated 08:57 02/10/2012

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OPINION: There have been several articles recently about the suggested closure of overnight services at the A & M department at Kenepuru Hospital and its replacement by a roving paramedical service.

First, I think it is only right to reiterate that the suggestion did not come from the DHB.

I suppose many of us would presume it had. No, it came from some local GPs who know our area well and feel the A & M is not being sufficiently utilised overnight to justify its existence. The suggested replacement is a highly-qualified paramedical service which would come to people in their homes as required and either treat them there and then, or arrange transfer to Wellington Hospital.

I gather that, if this service were to be accepted, there would be no overnight admissions to Kenepuru. I may have that a bit wrong - perhaps maternity cases would be an exception, but I haven't managed to get that information as yet.

There is a precedent for such a mobile service in Kapiti, where it seems to be working well, to the satisfaction of all concerned. It is interesting to note that up in Kapiti the suggestion for the new service did not come from the DHB either - it came from the Wellington Free Ambulance people themselves.

The paramedics concerned receive advanced training to enable them to cope with the types of cases which crop up overnight, and their expertise is far- reaching, well beyond that of the usual ambulance staff - though even they have specialised skills.

I understand the project is being closely examined for viability and economics, after which the public will be consulted.

The trouble is that so many of us are not motivated to get out of the armchair in the evenings and go to meetings.

Then we complain because things are happening that we don't like or think are wrong. Well, we can't have it both ways. Either we stand up and have our say or we have to accept the decisions that others make on our behalf. It's a bit like voting in the local body elections, really, isn't it?

I have some questions I would like answered and I will keep you posted if and when I receive responses:

1. How much does the A & M cost to run: a) from 8am to 10pm? b) from 10pm to 8am?

2 Who staffs the A & M during the hours 8am to 10pm?

3. If the answer to is local GPs, who pays them?

4. How much do GPs staffing the A & M from 5pm to 8am get paid on average?

5. How much on average is collected from patients presenting to the A & M: a) during the hours 8am to 10pm? b) during the hours 10pm to 8am?

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6. How many personnel in support services (X-ray, laboratory etc) have to be on-site during the hours 10pm to 8am?

7. How many personnel are on call for that period?

If we get all that information, we should be in a position to judge the pros and cons of the suggested service.

Last month, our speaker on the Local Government Commission was ill and could not attend our meeting.

This month, we are expecting to hear from Anna Surowiez of the Mission to Seniors. I am sure you are all aware of the great work the City Mission does in the Wellington region and hope you are interested in learning of their special ministry to us seniors.

Date: Tuesday, October 9. Time: 1.30pm. Venue: The Porirua Club, Lodge Place, Porirua.

Contact: Helen Griffith. Phone: 236-0112.

- Kapi-Mana News

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