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Back up services needed at Kaitaia

Back up services needed at Kaitaia

National says it is concerned that Northland Health may put patients at risk by closing after-hours surgery at Kaitaia Hospital before expanded backstop services are fully in place.

National Health Spokesperson Dr Lynda Scott questioned Northland District Health Board chiefs at the health select committee meeting in Auckland today on why the surgery is being closed in a month, without extended back up weekend and after hours services being finalised.

"I am disappointed they will not reconsider moving the closure out beyond February 28 when there are not already measures in place for cover.

"They are doing this the wrong way around. They should be putting in place cover for emergency care before closing the surgery, rather than saying 'we'll close the surgery' and then we will consider providing emergency cover. "It is essential that a triage service is available at Kaitaia Hospital and a transfer system is put in place for getting the increased number of patients who will need transfer from Kaitaia to base hospital in emergencies. The board told the committee today that this was estimated at approximately one extra patient per week.

"This closure is disappointing, but we now need an assurance that there will be services put in place to cover this loss to the area," Dr Scott said.

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