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This section contains media releases released a little while ago. Please note that due to the long time when some of these were released images have been removed and some links might no longer work.

September 14, 2011

Improving health services in Buller - Editorial by David Meates, CE West Coast DHB

Buller Integrated Family Health Centre

David Meates, CE for West Coast DHB and Canterbury DHB

On Monday (September 19) there is a further public meeting at the NBS Westport Centre to update the community about the proposed integrated family health centre for Buller. Ensuring you have the opportunity to provide more feedback about the proposals and understand the reason for change is important. So what are the reasons for change? Perhaps a good way to explain is to talk about the Better, Sooner, More Convenient national initiative and how integrated family health centres fit in to this.

In 2009 the Government announced the Better, Sooner, More Convenient initiative. It aims to provide New Zealander's with a better experience of the health system by waiting a shorter time for services and being able to access those services closer to their home. The government called for submissions from health providers across the country to improve primary health care - that is health care provided by doctors, nurses and allied health outside of hospitals.

The West Coast Health System submitted a proposal around changing the way health care is provided in Buller and other areas on the Coast. The focus is on establishing integrated family health centres that will see general practice, pharmacy, community nursing, community allied health and community mental health services all well connected and working together in a co-ordinated fashion which is easily accessible.

The genesis for the proposal was that the way health services are currently provided in Buller is not working as well as it could be. Services in Buller have grown in an ad hoc manner, resulting in a fragmented approach, multiple re-assessment and frustrating waits for patients and staff. One message that came across from community feedback is that recruitment and retention of health staff is very important to this community. This has been problematic for some time.

Common issues we hear back from the community are that people have to wait too long for appointments and that there is a lack of continuity and consistency of care. Clinicians work in different functional teams using different assessment tools, making seamless care for patients difficult to achieve.

This community is lucky to have dedicated health professionals serving the region. These professionals, including those employed by the DHB and other providers, have been working together to identify problems with the way services are currently provided and to determine better ways of doing things. In July and August many local staff took time in workshops applying quality improvement methods to the problems they struggle with day to day, while trying to give the best possible care for patients. They went through a series of patient journey scenarios, finding the waste and inefficiencies that occur in today's fragmented system, and working out how the problems could be overcome. All these findings have helped shaped our proposals and our thinking.

At the first public meeting held in Westport more than 200 people attended and we outlined our ideas and shared some proposed options to improve the community's health care services. Following the meeting 42 written submissions were received from the public, staff and unions regarding the proposed Buller Integrated Family Health Centre. A report prepared by consultants Sapere was also released which gave the community more information about the proposed options. The report - Buller Health Services plan working paper: Model of care description, capacity estimation and options analysis – gave detailed information on the different options being considered. There were a variety of opinions expressed around whether the proposed facility should be on one or two sites with no clear preference from the community.

However it is important to state that this is not about buildings - it's about developing ways to look after the wider Buller community that will ensure the best services are provided. People are an integral part of the future of this DHB and we are committed to attracting and keeping the best possible staff not only to Buller, but for the whole of the Coast. Ensuring we have first class services and facilities will make the Coast an attractive place to work. The work to date has been sponsored by the Buller Joint Action Group (JAG) . The JAG was formed by the West Coast PHO and West Coast DHB with Local Authority and other business community input to review how health services in Buller could be improved. It also includes representatives from the Buller District Council, the O'Conor Trust and Buller Health.

Community feedback has been taken into consideration as we have developed our plans. After the meeting on Monday night there will be another opportunity to provide feedback, with the final proposals going to the West Coast DHB Board in October for consideration.


For further information please contact

Bryan Jamieson
Community Liaison Officer
West Coast DHB
PO Box 387
Greymouth 7840
Phone (DDI): (03) 769-7665
Mobile: 027 245-9595
Email: This is not a link as we want to prevent spam.  Please transfer the email address on the image carefully into your email client before sending the email.  You might find, with some older email addresses on this site that they are no longer current, for staff-change reasons.  If your email bounces back please contact the WCDHB Communications Team - see Contacts section of this site.

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