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Rotorua library and child health hub concepts unveiled

Media Release

16 September 2015

Rotorua library and child health hub concepts unveiled

Construction on a New Zealand-first library and child health hub in Rotorua could get underway as soon as July next year, Rotorua Lakes Council’s Strategy, Policy and Finance Committee members heard today.

And for the first time councillors and the public were able to see concepts of a library and child health hub that would respond to the needs of Rotorua’s children, whanau and wider community by providing an integrated library and child health service. The proposed project is a partnership between the Lakes District Health Board (DHB) and Rotorua Lakes Council.

Present at the meeting were Lakes DHB chief executive Ron Dunham, director of nursing Gary Lees and Bridget Wilson, clinical nurse manager of the children’s unit. Rotorua Library director Jane Gilbert was also in attendance.

“The services currently provided by the DHB are quite fragmented,” said Mr Dunham.

Many are dispersed around the city and throughout the hospital.

The plan is to bring them together in one hub.

“Children’s health is a concept of wellness. (A hub) can deal with the child and the whole family,” he said.

Presently a dental nurse could look at teeth but was unable to check up on vision, hearing or immunisation status.

“This (hub) would bring all the services together to treat the whole child, not just one part,” he said.

Rotorua Lakes Council Strategy and Partnerships group manager Jean-Paul Gaston told the committee none of the concepts had been priced up or designed in detail yet.

Architects looked at the interface between the current library and adjacent Jean Batten Park and recommended moving the library entrance to the centre of the building.

They also picked up on Rotorua’s “wood-first” policy in the concepts.

The next milestone would be more detailed design and costings in March-April next year.

The library would then need to move to a new location for physical works to start on the 18-month project in July.

There had already been some extensive iwi advisory led by Lakes DHB, he said.

Mayor Steve Chadwick said it was good to see the library and health users present at the meeting and were part of the consultation. She wondered whether the Positive Ageing group was involved and whether there would be child management for those older people who would be in the library looking for somewhere quiet to read.

“Those issues have been raised and we are aware of those. What you can see conceptually is that as you go further into the building, you find more and more quieter zones,” said Mr Gaston.

There would be dedicated quiet zones dedicated for those who are studying and researching.

“We are trying to make sure we manage all those successfully.”

It would be a challenge for the council to find temporary accommodation for the library during construction, he said.

“We need to come forward with a very detailed plan of the where, when and how.”

Cr Janet Wepa said the library and child health hub was an “exciting project, innovating and a huge potential for our community.”

She welcomed the involvement of the Friends of the Library group who over the years had fundraised for the library.

More than 7000 people attend the library every week. With the addition of the health hub, there would be an increase in foot traffic of about 30-40 people per hour, said Mr Dunham.

Fast wireless services would also be needed for both library users and visitors to the health hub.

In response to a question about the provision of ante-natal services, Mr Dunham said the DHB defined the ages for its child health services as minus nine months to no top end.

“Some of our clients have profound disability and chronic disease so they go onto their early 20s. Sometimes they’ve been dealt with by the child health team so we don’t define a top age.”

The DHB had an emphasis on education and improving its parenting programmes. The hub would provide an ideal environment for Plunket or anyone else to use to contribute to the education component.

The library and child health hub would not just be about treatment, he said but about health literary for parents and children which is a very important driver for the health sector.

“We are very excited about that,” said Mr Dunham.

Government funding for a one-stop Rotorua child health centre, separate from hospital services and incorporating paediatrics, child development, public health, child protection, mental health, oral health and parenting services was announced in August last year. The Ministry of Health has allocated $6m for a child health centre, dependent on Lakes DHB’s business case for the centre being accepted.

The library and child health hub would allow for different health professionals to be available on site, instead of children and their family members having to go to separate appointments at different locations. The centre will enable health professionals and other government agencies meet the needs of patients and their families more efficiently, in the one place.

Read the earlier release

See the presentation


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