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Is there a tomorrow for Whanganui hospital?

Tariana Turia,
Co-leader Maori Party;
Maori Party Health spokesperson
Member of Parliament for Te Tai Hauauru

Is there a tomorrow for Whanganui hospital?

Wednesday 30 August 2006

The sweeping claim of the Minister of Health that 'today there is comprehensive paediatric care in Whanganui' was both misleading and irresponsible, said Tariana Turia, Member of Parliament for Te Tai Hauauru after asking a series of questions in the House of the Minister of Health.

"The community of Whanganui deserve better than this" said Mrs Turia. "The reality of the hospital roster tells quite a different story. It would appear that the fortnight roster for the Hospital demonstrates patchy locum cover at best".

"I have been advised that between now and 18th September, there will be five days when Whanganui Hospital is without a paediatrician" said Mrs Turia. "In fact, tomorrow the Hospital will be without a paediatrician. While the Minister says the service exists today, we in Whanganui want to know about tomorrow - and tomorrow - and tomorrow" said Mrs Turia.

"All that the people of Whanganui are asking for, is a statement of ongoing commitment from the DHB, the Ministry of Health or the Minister of Health, that secondary paediatric and obstetric services will be retained at Whanganui Hospital" said Mrs Turia.

"Instead we are told by the Labour list Member, Jill Pettis, that Whanganui DHB is no worse off than any other DHB; which if true, is a pretty sad indictment on the state of health throughout Aotearoa".

"We have learnt that the 'comprehensive paediatric and obstetric services' are going to be drastically down-scaled to just three birthing beds and eight post natal beds".

"This is an issue of public confidence in the DHB and the provision of health services" said Tariana Turia.

"As Te Tai Hauauru MP in Whanganui, I have been advised by real estate agents that families with young children are no longer considering Whanganui as a place to live because of the risks of not being able to access paediatric and obstetric services".

"The last thing our people expect to hear from the Minister of Health is that he "wishes the Board well" said Mrs Turia.

"Where is the commitment, the duty to care, that one would expect of a responsible Government?"

ENDS

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