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Hodsgon: Kenepuru Community Hospital

12 April 2006

Opening of the second stage of the Kenepuru Community Hospital

It is a privilege to be here today to celebrate with you the opening of the second stage of the Kenepuru Community Hospital.

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I am aware that the former Minister of Health, Annette King, was a strong advocate for improved hospital facilities for the Wellington region. The strength of her support was a major factor in Government approving the $303M Regional Hospital Project in 2002, involving extensive capital development at three sites in the region: Kenepuru, Newtown and Kapiti. Thank you too to my colleague Luamanuvao Winnie Laban who works tirelessly for her local people - young and old.

Modern models of care indicate the importance of a foundation of good health established in childhood, a physically active lifestyle and healthy diet as an adult, and easy access to primary health care services to address health problems in their early stages.

Technology and pharmaceutical advances over recent years have also made it possible for many health conditions to be managed at home and not in a hospital inpatient setting. Many people achieve a faster recovery or better management of their conditions when they are able to access medical treatment but remain in their familiar and supportive home environment.

However, there are times when most of us will have to access hospital health services. Capital and Coast DHB has had the vision to develop Kenepuru into a Community Hospital for people who live north of Wellington city.

Having a range of services available at Kenepuru makes it easier for local people. It is also makes it easier for patients to be supported by their family and friends during their recovery. This is good step toward improving health outcomes and assisting in the reduction of health disparities within our communities. This Labour-led government, the District Health Board and community, are united in their desire to achieve the best health outcomes for people accessing public health services. We share a strong commitment to provide high quality health services for the people of this region. In August 2005, Annette King opened the First Phase of the Kenepuru Community Hospital. This included an Accident and Medical Clinic; a Medical Assessment Unit; a Paediatric Assessment Unit and Child Development Unit; and extension of the Radiology facility; the movement on site of Assessment Treatment and Rehabilitation (AT&R) services and Allied Health facilities for outpatients and specialist rehabilitation.

The value of the Kenepuru campus to its community is further extended today with the opening of the second phase of the development, which includes an expanded Outpatient Services, including specialist Ophthalmology services. Overall the new Outpatient Service will bring approximately 40 per cent of regional outpatient consulting to Kenepuru. Also included is a specialist Audiology service providing paediatric assessment, and an Education Centre for staff and the community usage.

When the Psychogeriatric unit is completed later this year, Kenepuru Community Hospital will be a vital part of a continuum of health care, providing services that integrate and are co-ordinated across the sector.

Capital & Coast DHB's development of its Newtown site will see Wellington Hospital remain the centre for intensive care, specialist treatment and tertiary services for the lower half of the North Island and for Marlborough and Nelson.

The new facilities at Wellington Hospital will have the capacity to accommodate the development of secondary and tertiary services in this area for the foreseeable future, and will be an asset of enormous value for people throughout the Wellington region. Good progress is being made on this project with work expected to be completed by the end of 2008.

The major capital project being undertaken by Capital & Coast DHB is part of a significant investment in New Zealand health infrastructure that Labour-led governments have approved over the last six years.

In addition to the new facilities at Kenepuru and Newtown, there have been new hospital facilities opened at Waitemata, Auckland, Southland and Dunstan. Wairarapa will formally open its new hospital on 4 May. In addition, there are projects planned or underway in Tauranga, Thames, Waikato, Kaitaia and Horowhenua.

We have good reason to be optimistic about the public health system in New Zealand.

In opening the Second Stage of the Kenepuru Community Hospital, I wish the Board, staff, future patients and their family and friends, the very best from this new facility. I am confident that it will serve the community well.

ENDS


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