May 10, 2021

Maori News & Indigenous Views

Ngati Ruanui against cuts to health services

2 min read

Ngati Ruanui is strongly opposed to the proposed changes to health service provision in South Taranaki. The proposed cost cutting outlined by the Taranaki District Health Board (TDHB) will result in a drastic and unacceptable reduction in health services.

Ngati Ruanui does not support the proposals that include reducing the bed numbers from 20 to 10, the closure of the in-patient service and the downgrading of the emergency department.

Ngati Ruanui believe that TDHB is slyly moving to ultimately close the Hawera Hospital and transfer all services to New Plymouth. All in the name of cost savings said Ngapari Nui, Tumuwhakaae (Chairperson) of Te Runanga o Ngati Ruanui.

Many of our people live in Patea and Hawera and the added burden and cost of travel to New Plymouth puts them at greater risk of falling through the cracks. The thought that our pahake (elders) will access medical services through a text or email will simply not work and is in fact a step backwards, especially given many of our areas do not have cell phone coverage said Mr Nui.

The savings of $1m will only offset a small proportion of the $304m annual operating expenditure and this is at a time that a multi-million dollar building project is taking place at Taranaki Base Hospital.

Ngati Ruanui have been concerned with the process that the TDHB has used to date and challenged in its submissions the objectivity and approach that seems to pre-determine the down-grade of services provided at Hawera Hospital. The TDHB has not seriously considered the risks to the people of South Taranaki.

Proposing to reduce health inequalities to Maori and sharing back office functions are good, but in all reality, this is only window dressing to hide the fact the TDHB wants to close the Hawera Hospital said Mr Nui.

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