Decision on district nurses' move to health hub expected to take months
A final list of tenants for the new section of Blenheim's health hub could be months away as conflict over the relocation of district nurses continues.
District nurses opposed the move from Wairau Hospital, in Witherlea, to the former Floor Pride Civic Theatre building in central Blenheim, which they felt was unnecessary and could hinder their work.
The Marlborough Primary Health Organisation expected to confirm a final line-up of tenants after a Nelson Marlborough District Health Board meeting in March.
But New Zealand Nurses Organisation regional co-ordinator Daniel Marshall said negotiations between the nurses and the board would likely run for another three months.
* District nurses floated as new Marlborough health hub tenants
* Pharmacy short-listed for Marlborough health hub
* Business case for GP practice and daytime urgent care centre at health hub
District nurses were disappointed the board had not sought their feedback before proposing the shift, but the board was meeting regularly with the nurses to address their concerns, Marshall said.
"[The board] has agreed to this consultation process, whereas I think [the nurses] felt before the communication wasn't there.
"The nurses still have concerns but they are really pleased the board is communicating with them now."
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District nurses worked with GPs, hospitals and community groups to care for people in their homes.
Blenheim's district nurses liked being based at Wairau Hospital because they could work closely with hospital staff and share knowledge and equipment, a union spokeswoman said.
It was too early to say whether the nurses were warming to the idea of working from the health hub, or whether the board would drop the shift altogether, Marshall said.
"All options are on the table."
District nurses declined to comment, saying they had been told not to speak to the media.
Board strategy, planning and community general manager Cathy O'Malley said the proposed move was part of efforts to better integrate services, in line with the Primary and Community Health Strategy.
The strategy outlined a model that drew patients away from hospitals as an ageing and increasing population tested hospital resources.
"There are pros and cons of every location, including the current base for district nurses at Wairau Hospital. We are working through models of care and building fit-out and other logistics with prospective tenants directly," O'Malley said.
"Keeping people well and in the community, closer to home, will be at the heart of a strengthened primary and community health system."
It would be "several weeks" before a decision was made on whether to move the nurses to the health hub, O'Malley said.
Marlborough Primary Health Organisation chief executive Beth Tester said last year an architectural plan would not be completed until the final line-up of tenants was confirmed.
Other tenants proposed for the new section of the health hub included a GP, a pharmacy, and a daytime urgent care centre, along with other social and health agencies.
October 2014 - Nelson Marlborough District Health Board signs lease of former No. 1 Shoe Warehouse building on corner of Charles St and Queen St for health hub.
April 2015 - Former Prime Minister John Key opens the health hub.
May 2016 - Hub expansion into the former Floor Pride Civic Theatre building confirmed.
September 2016 - General practice, pharmacy and daytime urgent care centre shortlisted as new tenants in former theatre building.
March 2017 - Final list of tenants submitted to the Nelson Marlborough District Health Board for approval.
April 2017 - Nelson Marlborough District Health Board confirms district nurses are proposed as new tenants.
- The Marlborough Express