Proposal to downsize Hawera Hospital meets stiff opposition.
Subject: Downsizing (Management) (Planning)
Hospitals (Central service department)
Hospitals (Planning)
Pub Date: 08/01/2011
Publication: Name: Kai Tiaki: Nursing New Zealand Publisher: New Zealand Nurses' Organisation Audience: Trade Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Health; Health care industry Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2011 New Zealand Nurses' Organisation ISSN: 1173-2032
Issue: Date: August, 2011 Source Volume: 17 Source Issue: 7
Topic: Event Code: 220 Strategy & planning Computer Subject: Company business planning
Geographic: Geographic Scope: New Zealand Geographic Code: 8NEWZ New Zealand
Accession Number: 266344859
Full Text: A Taranaki District Health Board (DHB) proposal to radically alter how health services are delivered in south Taranaki, including halving the number of beds at Hawera Hospital to ten, has met with stiff community opposition. A crowd of 2500, including NZNO members, marched through Hawera last month to one of a series of public meetings on the proposed changes. The proposal also includes the possible closure of the emergency department (ED) at Hawera Hospital and the option of transferring palliative and intermediate care beds to an aged-care facility in Hawera.

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Hawera Hospital workplace convenor Trish Hurley said some of the primary health tare recommendations in the proposal could have merit but the impact on secondary services was causing real concern. The proposal to cut beds could mean the closure of the inpatient ward at the hospital and changes to ED care could impact on workloads at Taranaki Base Hospital (TBH). "Under the proposal, urgently unwell patient with be taken directly from site of pick up to TBH. This will have a major impact on the ED workload there. Currently, status 1 and 2 patients come to Hawera Hospital and are stabilised, initial treatment is commenced, eg insertion of intravenous tines, administration of pain relief, taking bloods, etc, so by the time the patient arrives at the TBH ED, blood results are available online, a diagnosis has often been made and the department has had 60 minutes' warning of the patient's arrival," Hurley explained.

Four of the region's biggest industries, Origin Energy, Fonterra, Vector Gas and Riverlands, have written to the DHB stating the 24-hour ED at Hawera Hospital needed to stay.

NZNO organiser Chrissy Darth said the biggest impact on members was the cut in bed numbers. The current 21-bed inpatient ward would be reduced to four short-stay beds, ie a maximum of 36 hours. Four palliative care beds and two intermediate care beds would be transferred to an aged-care site but Darth pointed out the aged-care provider did not guarantee DHB pay and conditions. The proposal also includes after-hours dispensing of medications from the pharmacy at Hawera Hospital, which raised "nightmarish" security issues, Darth said.

There are approximately 40 registered nurses at the hospital, plus many casual staff.

NZNO members were writing a submission outlining their concerns about the proposal It had to be with Taranaki DHB early this month.
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