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What's Happening At The Horowhenua Health Centre?

What's Really Happening At The Horowhenua Health Centre?

Heather Roy Thursday, 23 November 2006 Press Releases - Health

ACT Health Spokesman Heather Roy said today that confusion reigns over whether any of Levin's twelve GPs will actually move in and work from the new, purpose built, Horowhenua Health Centre.

"Discussions between the MidCentral District Health Board and local GPs have been going on for over two years, but no resolution has been reached", Mrs Roy said.

"In Parliament today, acting Minister of Health Mita Ririnui stated that 4 GPs had signed up to the new facility. However there has been no official announcement from any of the town's GPs that they are willing to move, and who the four are remains a mystery.

"Even if this is correct, it is a backwards move from November 2004, when a Ministry of Health paper stated the 'DHB has obtained signatures from a critical mass of six GPs from two local practices, who have accepted in principle the proposed integrated model of care'. A pre- requisite for the building to go ahead and funding approved was that six GPs had signed up to move.

"Also in Parliament, the Minister said that GPs have agreed to provide after hours care from the new facility. Again, there has been no announcement by GPs to this effect, and conversely, the amount of after hours care provided in Levin may be cut back - meaning a 50 kilometre trip to Palmerston North for locals who need after hours medical treatment.

"Finally, the project has experienced a significant budget blow-out. Originally a $13.9 million budget was approved, but the Minister today admitted the project will now cost taxpayers $16 million. He refused to say whether the DHB had to find the additional funding itself, with a reduction in services elsewhere in the area, or if the Ministry of Health had stumped up with the cash.

"The Minister of Health should come clean and tell the people of Horowhenua just what exactly is happening with their Health Centre. It appears that no GPs want to work there, after hours services are in doubt, and the budget blow-out leaves the new building looking very much like a huge white elephant", Mrs Roy said.

ENDS

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