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10 Years Of Shame And Hurt

10 Years Of Shame And Hurt

“Members of the Napier Public Health Action Group are today wearing black armbands as they mark ten years of shame and hurt. The shame lies at the door of the Hawke’s Bay and national health authorities. The hurt and pain has been felt by the people of Napier and all Hawke’s Bay”, said Don Stuart, Chairman of the Napier Public Health Action Group (Inc).

“In May and June 1995 the then Minister of Health wrote to worried Napier residents. Similar letters were sent in hundreds by her, the Prime Minister, and health authorities as they reassured Napierites upset by the closure of their hospital by telling them what they could look forward to in its replacement [copies of these letters are available on request].

“Napier was told that its hospital would be replaced by ‘an active community hospital with a comprehensive range of services’ so that ‘more than 65% of present patients’ [that is, of the then Napier Hospital] would continue to be treated in the city.

“The Group is wearing the black armbands in respect and sympathy for the pain and suffering of Hawke’s Bay people, their families and friends, who have suffered needlessly over the six years since the Napier Hospital was closed. This suffering has been caused because the replacement facilities and services that were promised in Napier in support of the regional hospital in Hastings have still not been provided”, he said.

The Group is delivering an oral submission to the Napier City Council, and letters to local MP Russell Fairbrother and DHB chairman Kevin Atkinson.

The letters call for immediate action to
• undertake a full and comprehensive new health consultation with the people of Napier, since the whole basis of the previous one has been dishonoured.
• develop a new health plan for the city. Decent health provision, including the sub-acute accident and emergency centre and “elective” surgery it was promised, is essential for the well-being of a retirement centre with over 10,000 citizens aged over 60.
• improve the very poor quality of public health care now available in Napier, which has repercussions for all Hawke’s Bay.

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