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HBDHB disappointed about Napier City caveat

MEDIA RELEASE

22 September 2003

HBDHB disappointed Napier City Council decides against lifting caveat

Hawke’s Bay District Health Board chair, Kevin Atkinson, said today he was disappointed the Napier City Council (NCC) had decided against lifting the caveat on the former Napier Hospital site, despite an independent National Research Bureau (NRB) survey which showed that a majority of Napier people surveyed wanted it lifted.

“I understand that most of those spoken to in the NRB survey wanted full hospital services reinstated on the hill site, and clearly this isn’t going to happen whether the caveat is lifted or not. There are numerous reasons why this won’t happen, with funding at the top of the list, closely followed by staffing and clinical safety.”

The decision not to reopen Napier Hospital has been backed by the Waitangi Tribunal and supported by Cabinet who say that if a new facility is built it should be located in an area which is accessible to those in high need with low incomes, such as Maraenui.

“Other arguments put forward by submitters about the Napier site being rent and rate free are flawed, as the Napier Health Centre site in Wellesley Road is also rate free, and there are costs associated with retaining the old Napier Hospital site in its present form of around $500,000 per annum. This is before you factor in the cost of the refurbishment required.”

"If Hawke’s Bay District Health Board doesn’t transfer ownership of the former hospital site to the Residual Health Management Unit (RHMU) in the near future, we will need to start looking at how we can trim $2m from our budget, and that would equate to service cuts if the transfer wasn’t to go ahead.

“We will be looking at all the options available to us and will be having urgent discussions with the government this week about those options.

“While the decision not to lift the caveat is disappointing, the issue of the future ownership of the site needs to be resolved so Hawke’s Bay District Health Board can get on with what we do best – providing health care to the people of Hawke's Bay,” Kevin Atkinson said.

“It is important that we do not allow the Napier City Council’s decision to put at risk Hawke’s Bay’s health funding for the 2004/5 year.

END

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