Waves can return, says chairman

JO MOIR
Last updated 05:00 13/11/2012
tdn garth stand
ANDY JACKSON
Waves Trust chairman Garth Clarricoats says the health service will return in six months.

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New Plymouth's free youth health clinic is down but not out, according to the Waves Trust chairman who predicts the services will return within six months.

Having undertaken a full strategic review and made a number of changes to systems and processes trust chairman Garth Clarricoats is adamant Waves is now an attractive investment for a Primary Health Organisation.

"The board of Waves is working hard on a strategic plan and we would like to reopen Waves in one form or another in the next six months," he said.

Although no-one has come knocking at Waves' door to provide funding or services at this stage Mr Clarricoats believes the brand of the organisation will ensure it's revival.

"There's never going to be a perfect fit with our model but everyone has to make compromises.

"Waves has a unique brand that young people relate to and it's a robust and well integrated model," he says. "We will budge on some things but on others we can't."

The youth one-stop-shop Waves closed the doors on its free health services last month after it failed to get the $35,000-a-month funding it says it needs to operate.

In an article in the Taranaki Daily News earlier this month Mr Clarricoats said a failed audit last year highlighted safety issues and consequently damaged the clinic's reputation.

As a result Midland Health pulled the pin on funding but now another PHO, Tui Ora, has put its hand up as a potential partner.

Its chairman Hayden Wano says Tui Ora doesn't see itself as providing funding for Waves but providing health services for people that use the youth centre.

"This isn't going to be a like-for-like situation," he said.

"It will be cost neutral."

Mr Wano said there were two options on the table. One is to put some health services into Waves and the other is for Waves to refer its clients to Tui Ora's clinics.

"If we can come up with an agreed plan then we'll look to get something up and running in the New Year," Mr Wano said.

The areas Mr Clarricoats says Waves won't budge on is providing a service that is more than just treating ailments, but instead looks at the environment a person lives in, their attitude and a raft of other contributing factors.

He is realistic that in an economic climate where many agencies are fighting for one pot of money Waves may need to reassess its ethos.

But when Waves will start to back down is unknown.

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"I'll continue to push for this model as long as we continue to have support and the board has people come in and say Waves made a difference in their lives."

For now that remains on a daily basis, he says.

- © Fairfax NZ News

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