News Video | Policy | GPs | Hospitals | Medical | Mental Health | Welfare | Search

 


Perspective Laundry

Perspective Laundry


David Meates, Chief Executive, West Coast District Health Board

In the last few days I have received a number of questions from members of the community about our decision to consult with staff on the permanent closure of the laundry at Grey Base Hospital. We know that our announcement last Friday was devastating for our laundry staff and for a town that in recent times has suffered a number of blows.

The proposal to close local laundry services is just one of the current challenges confronting the provision of health services on the West Coast. It is a story that dates back twenty years.

Since the health reforms of 1993, no less than 13 reviews of West Coast health services have been undertaken in order to address the complex challenges of providing clinically and financially sustainable health services to a geographically sparse and remote population.

These reviews consistently identified key priorities for the West Coast health system, including transAlpine collaboration with Canterbury for specialist services; generalist services and workforce based on the Coast; the integration of primary care [general practice] and secondary [hospitalbased] care; and greater use of nurse led services. Unfortunately, none of these priorities have been brought fully to life.

Two decades of health service reviews and the need for new facilities has meant that basic maintenance of our hospital buildings has not been prioritised. There has been serious infrastructure deterioration and the consequences of this are now becoming painfully clear. For example, in April this year we experienced 90 minutes of total power failure at Grey Base Hospital. A detailed external review commissioned by the DHB revealed serious weaknesses in the electrical infrastructure, and we now have to spend in the order of $1M to urgently upgrade the power supply to the hospital buildings just to keep health services running.

Two years ago, we made a commitment to ensure that the West Coast would find a sustainable way to treat people – we call this a model of care. To inform our model of care, we went out to the community and held clinicianled meetings up and down the Coast where we asked Coasters what they expected from their health services. Unsurprisingly, the building blocks for our model of care turned out to be the same as the key priorities identified in the 13 reviews.
From our community and staff consultation, we prepared a business case which sets out a plan for sustainable and affordable healthcare services on the Coast. It also details facility requirements that are needed both in Greymouth and Westport. We presented the Greymouth business case to the Capital Investment Committee of the National Health Board in July 2012. P.O. Box 387 Greymouth
As we developed the business case, we commenced a process of undertaking detailed engineering evaluations on each of our buildings. We began with the laundry and the boilerhouse building. Our decision to close the laundry on 25 May, 2012 was taken upon receipt of an engineering report which indicated very clearly that the building was unsafe to occupy because it was less than 9% of new building standards and had critical weaknesses.

Some people have asked why we can’t invest money to fix the laundry. After closing the laundry in May, we continued to undertake detailed engineering studies of our buildings. During this time, and because of the uncertainty, we retained all our laundry staff on full pay and conditions while sourcing laundry services from Canterbury. Between May and November, we received the results of engineering studies for all buildings at Grey which describe significant seismic and infrastructure issues with most of the buildings at the hospital – buildings which house vital health services. As with the laundry, a number of these buildings also fail to meet seismic standards and need many millions spent on them urgently if continuity of health services is to be assured.

In addition, Crown company Health Benefits Limited [HBL] is working to consolidate and regionalise a number of services across all DHBs, including finance, procurement, food and laundry. While the outcome of this process is not yet finalised, it is clear that regionalisation of laundry services is inevitable. Finally, the DHB has lost money on commercial laundry services since day one. We have been crosssubsidising lossmaking commercial laundry operations from scarce health dollars and this cannot continue without compromising the delivery of critical clinical services. All up, it is neither affordable, nor responsible, to invest in the repairs and strengthening the current laundry building.

For the first time in nearly 20 years, the West Coast health system has a very clear path towards clinical and financial sustainability. We have a business case before the National Health Board to develop new health facilities in Greymouth. The facility has been designed to support the model of care elements which have been articulated over the past two decades. The facility proposed in the business case allows us to bring to life long term financial and clinical sustainability of health services on the West Coast.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

 

Album Review And Rap Beefs: Tame Impala, Currents.

Tame Impala’s new album Currents has one of the hallmarks of an enduring album. At first listen it seems like good, if somewhat ordinary, pop but as you go back more and more layers unravel revealing deeply rich, expertly crafted songs. More>>

Flagging Enthusiasm: Gareth Morgan Announces Winner Of $20k Flag Competition

The winner of the Morgan Foundation’s $20,000 flag competition is “Wā kāinga / Home”, designed by Auckland based Studio Alexander. Economist and philanthropist Gareth Morgan set up the competition because he had strong views on what the flag should represent but he couldn’t draw one himself. More>>

ALSO:

Books: The Lawson Quins Tell Their Incredible Story

They could have been any family of six children – except that five of them were born at once. It will come as a shock to many older New Zealanders to realise that Saturday July 25 is the Lawson quintuplets’ 50th birthday. More>>

Scoop Review Of Books: Wartime Women

Coinciding as it does with the movie Imitation Game which focusses on Alan Turing breaking the Enigma code in Hut 6 at Bletchley Park (“BP”), this book is likely to attract a wide readership. It deserves to do so, as it illustrates that BP was very much more than Turing and his colleagues. More>>

Maori Language Commission: Te Wiki O Te Reo Māori 2015

The theme for Māori Language Week 27 July – 2 August 2015 is ‘Whāngaihia te Reo ki ngā Mātua’ ‘Nurture the language in parents’. It aims to encourage and support every day Māori language use for parents and caregivers with children” says Acting Chief Executive Tuehu Harris.. More>>

ALSO:

Live Music: Earl Sweatshirt Plays To Sold Out Bodega

The hyped sell-out crowd had already packed themselves as close as they could get to the stage before Earl came on. The smell of weed, sweat and beer filled Bodega – more debauched sauna than bar by this point. When he arrived on stage the screaming ... More>>

Get More From Scoop

 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
Health
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news