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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.

March 7, 2014

DHB commits to engagement with Reefton community

At a public meeting held last night in Reefton, attended by more than 60 people, West Coast DHB Chief Executive David Meates told the audience that the DHB is committed to engaging with the community about the make up of its health services.

David Meates told the meeting that the DHB is implementing a comprehensive plan for ensuring safe and consistent health services are delivered on the Coast. He stressed that the goal of the DHB was ensuring that services provided on the Coast are delivered in a sustainable way, while still meeting the needs of particular communities.

Mr Meates confirmed that the DHB will commence a community engagement programme with the Reefton community in the middle of the year. He told the meeting that to provide long-term viable health service solutions for Reefton, the DHB must first finalise the facilities redevelopment for Grey Base Hospital and Buller.

"We are presenting further information on the facilities development to the government appointed Partnership Group next week and we hope to have some clarity around the Grey and Buller developments soon after that," says Mr Meates.

"Once we have confirmed the facilities development for Greymouth and Buller we will focus on Reefton. The DHB is really open to working with the community to explore a range of options for Reefton health services. This could include an increased use of technology, such as telehealth services.

"We want to partner with the community to work out what are the right mix of services needed in Reefton; how can we ensure people can stay well in their own communities and what innovative solutions can we come up with to ensure people can easily travel to Greymouth if need be."

Buller Mayor Garry Howard told the meeting that the Council is working closely with the DHB and is looking forward to participating in the community engagement programme.

David Meates told the audience that in the meantime the DHB has been working hard to ensure it can provide fulltime GPs [Monday to Friday] in the community, increasing the number of Rural Nurse Specialists and stabilising the workforce to provide a range of consistent services.

"We have already recruited one fulltime GP for Reefton and we are in the process of appointing a second fulltime GP. Both these GPs will be connected to the Rural Academic General Practice. A fourth Rural Nurse Specialist has been appointed and evening drop-in clinics have been introduced", says Mr Meates.

Mr Meates also told the meeting that in the middle of the year the DHB will be engaging with the Buller community about the provision of aged care services that meet the needs of the community now and into the future.

At the meeting Mr Meates accepted a petition from Reefton mother Tracy Parkinson.

- Ends-

For more information please contact:

Louise McLean
PA to Director of Nursing & Midwifery and Acting GM Hospital Services
t: (03) 769 7887
Corporate Office | West Coast District Health Board | Grey Base Hospital, PO Box 387, Greymouth 7840

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