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Clarke Pulls Wool Over Board And Media Eyes

Clarke Pulls Wool Over Board And Media Eyes

Over seven months ago, on 3 May, the Napier Public Health Action Group took to the District Health Board (with copy to the local MP) a list of serious problems regarding costs charged to people visiting City Medical at Wellesley Road for emergency treatment. Supported by a detailed analysis of thirty individual cases, these complaints included

a.. Charges are inconsistent

b.. Napier people are paying a variety of charges that would not be levelled in Hastings

c.. The triage system does not work well and causes great confusion to patients

d.. There are no clear explicit written definitions of what injuries qualify as Triage categories 1-3, and categories 4-5, or of the charges applicable to each at different times of the day and week

e.. Charges of $80 for a weekend daytime callout ($65 with a community card) are not reasonable. The analysis was presented after research following verbal and written complaints made to Group members by local citizens. An initial meeting was held with local Board representatives in early May, at which action and further contact was promised.

After three months, having heard nothing, the group made contact with David Marshall and was assured that things were progressing.

In October, we pointed out that we had still not had a single line in response, and noted that the delay in dealing with a matter like this, on which there should be clear, unequivocal guidelines that are known to all members of the public, was unreasonable.

We wrote then to the Board that "if you are not proposing to meet with us, we request as a matter of urgency a detailed written response to the analysis set before you five and a half months ago".

We have still not been invited to a meeting, and we have still not received any written reply.

This matter has absolutely nothing to do with the Napier Hospital Hill site. It never has had. Under the circumstances it is disgraceful of CEO Chris Clarke to be saying he is "more than happy" to meet with the Group on matters unrelated to that site. His comments, evidently intended as a jibe, are both irrelevant and demonstrably untrue.

Given the unsatisfactory delays in dealing with the situation, and Mr Clarke's inappropriate comments, we are prepared on request to release to the media the analysis we originally presented to the Board so long ago in the hope of being involved in ensuring some prompt remedial action.

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