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Redevelopment of Kaitaia Hospital

21 April 2004

Redevelopment of Kaitaia Hospital

Health Minister Annette King and Te Tai Tokerau MP Dover Samuels today announced full approval for the Northland District Health Board's $9.3 million redevelopment plan for Kaitaia Hospital, and called on the community to unite behind the new hospital.

“Given the difficulties people in the Far North have faced in the past in battling to maintain health services, it is not surprising that some mistrust and doubt has lingered in the wider community despite the inclusive approach taken during the redevelopment project,” Ms King and Mr Samuels said in a joint statement.

“But we believe the DHB should now have earned community respect and trust. It certainly deserves it. It is committed to sustainable health services in the Far North. So is the Government. The community can have full confidence that the development of modern, high quality health facilities will start immediately. This is an investment that deserves a unified community behind it to make it a success."

Ms King said in the past few months she had been able to announce a number of redevelopment projects for smaller hospitals, including Wairarapa, Dunstan and Thames. “All these projects have differed considerably in detail, but they have shared one important aspect --- each project has been developed in its own way to suit the needs of its community.

“That is certainly the case in Kaitaia. This redevelopment has actually been born out of this community’s initiative. It agreed the best way forward for hospital and health services in the Far North was to undertake an independent review, and it had input into the review team’s membership.

“The Independent Review Team identified many deficiencies in health service delivery in the Far North, noting high rates of avoidable admission, under-resourced primary health care services, insufficient capacity and processes for after hour emergency care, and poor integration of care among health providers.”

Ms King and Mr Samuels said the IRT had recommended continuing to provide hospital services, shifting the focus from surgical and obstetric services toward integrated and preventative care, reducing surgical services to normal working hours, and investing more in emergency and retrieval services, improving antenatal care and relocating local GPs and iwi providers to the hospital site.

“Much has happened in the past year or so in terms of Far North health services,” they said. Surgery is now being provided in normal working hours as part of one integrated surgical department; Patient transfer services (both road ambulance and helicopter) have been improved; Communications systems between medical staff in Kaitaia and Whangarei have been improved; More outpatient clinics are being provided by specialists from Whangarei; A Primary Health Organisation has been established; And the DHB has introduced a community liaison group that regularly reviews the board’s progress against the IRT’s recommendations. “But the most significant move is today’s approval for the hospital redevelopment project. Under the Kaitaia Comprehensive Health Service, an integrated emergency department and accident and medical unit will be established onsite to join the existing inpatient facility. The development will include a mix of redevelopment of the existing hospital and new building to accommodate a full suite of primary care providers including all Kaitaia-based GPs.

GPs will operate as one service from one site, sharing administrative systems, staffing and equipment. A single point of 24/7 access for Kaitaia residents will be established, significantly enhancing integration among primary care providers and primary and secondary services. Access to laboratory, radiology and pharmacy services available on site. Community health, community mental health, public health, maternity services and iwi providers servicing the immediate Kaitaia catchment will also form an integral part of the Kaitaia Comprehensive Health Service.

“The Government believes this project offers the way forward for integrated and quality sustainable health services in the Far North,” they said.

“This community has a rich history of being prepared to fight for quality health care, and today it can celebrate its most important victory. The redeveloped hospital will stand as an enduring credit to this community’s passion for quality health services. The Government has a responsibility to spend money on health services that can deliver the widest possible sustainable benefits to the communities they serve.”


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