Hospital services

Wellington.Scoop » All hospital services will remain in the Hutt – Health Board request

Statement from the Mayor of Hutt City
Yesterday I attended the Hutt Valley District Health Board meeting where they discussed the situation at Hutt Hospital. The board unanimously passed a resolution calling on Health New Zealand (which will be in charge from July 1) to follow through with a full reconstruction of the Hutt Hospital site, and that all services currently provided (plus others for growth) be returned.

They also directed management that current Heretaunga block services should remain in the Hutt Valley as much as possible during reconstruction/renovation.
Thanks to the HVDHB for taking a really clear and strong position on this.

Regarding maternity care, officials provided an update and when asked confirmed that they were in talks with Te Awakairangi Birthing Center and exploring all options. The same goes for all the other services that will have to move.

It has been made clear to management the high level of concern and uncertainty of current patients, future patients, their families and staff.

More needs to be done to keep people informed so they know what is going on. I hope that will happen after yesterday’s meeting.

Next step — The HVDHB will meet on June 22, where they will take stock of an “implementation plan” for building settling (moving beds and services to temporary locations).

In my view, now is the time for Health New Zealand/Department of Health to confirm that they will act on the resolutions of the HVDHB on the future of Hutt Hospital.
They are the body that will ultimately make all key decisions. I will write to their board to clarify this.

RNZ Report
An urgent meeting of the Hutt Valley District Health Board yesterday afternoon heated up as its members sought answers from its executive, as well as the vote against a motion to prioritize urgent relocation of the maternity ward from the hospital to a nearby private ward that was mothballed last year.

The Heretaunga building was declared earthquake-prone last month and health board chief executive Fionnagh Dougan said they were dealing with “a bit of ambiguity”.

The council wanted to solidify its position before being disbanded at the end of the month and its decision-making powers transferred to the new government organization Health New Zealand from July 1.

Several board members said they felt in the dark since the announcement, including Dr. Richard Stein who wanted to know how long services would remain in the building. “Are we talking about years? Are we talking about months?

Chief Medical Officer John Tait said the ‘short answer’ was that they didn’t know anything concrete other than ‘it needs to be done within seven years’. He said there were contingency plans in place “should anything happen”.

The executive was awaiting final reports from the engineers; some were expected next week, which chief financial officer Mathew Parr said could trigger more questions.

Some council members, like Prue Lamason, worried that staff, patients and the community were not getting enough information.

“We’ve only got a few days left and then we’re gone, and there’s no elected official that people in the general public can go to, so they’re going to be in a complete vacuum. [when Health New Zealand takes over procurement],” she says.

Similar concerns were also expressed at the meeting by Hutt City Mayor Campbell Barry, who called some of the actions taken by DHBs “lackluster”, and Hutt-based National MP Chris Bishop, who said that there was “a degree of anxiety in the community”.

The executive planned to communicate with people through existing channels and was considering other options like workshops.

Board member Josh Briggs asked the executive more candidly about the transfer to Health New Zealand.

He asked whether the organization or the Ministry of Health had shown the executive a preference for strengthening and renovating the building or rebuilding it, and also whether either agency had committed to “to render to the Hutt the services which are presently provided on the Hutt”. Campus”. To both questions, Parr told him it was “too early in these discussions.”

Lamason and Stein’s motion to have DHB Chief Executive Fionnagh Dougan prioritize moving the maternity ward to the mothballed Te Awakairangi Birthing Center was voted down by all other board members.

Some detailed their reasons: Naomi Shaw was “uncomfortable with a specific focus and emphasis” on birth unity, and Ken Laban had a “feeling uneasy” about engaging in a long-term lease given the impending dissolution of the council and that he was “committing before the national health authority to a lease that they do not necessarily agree with”.

Prior to the vote, Stein had pleaded for the board to “make no mistake” and “regret it for years.”

The negative vote was a disappointment for Hutt South MP Ginny Andersen and National’s Chris Bishop. Andersen said she was “fully supportive” of using Te Awakairangi, but took comfort in the board’s unanimous vote to keep a fully operational hospital and all of its services in the Hutt Valley. Bishop was less kind, calling the decision “ridiculous”.

“They should use [Te Awakairangi] at present.”

He wrote to chief executive Fionnagh Dougan and health minister Andrew Little asking for its use and started a petition.

The DHB executive admitted there were ongoing conversations about finding new facilities in the area for all affected hospital services. This included an engagement with the Wright Family Foundation, owner of Te Awakairangi, most recently on Monday.

A day before the meeting, the foundation’s Chloe Wright kept a low profile and only referred to earlier comments that no official had engaged on the use of the center.

The Hutt Valley DHB’s next meeting – also the last – will be June 22, when the board awaits a full update and plan for the hospital.