Westport braces for protest over health facility

  • 26/08/2017
The Buller Health Action Group is against private ownership of the new facility.
The Buller Health Action Group is against private ownership of the new facility. Photo credit: Getty

Hundreds of West Coasters are expected at a protest against a new health facility in Westport.

Senior doctors and nurses will join the protest from 11:30am on Saturday against the proposed Buller Integrated Family Health Centre.

Organiser, the Buller Health Action Group, is against private ownership of the new facility as well as its design and location and says there was a lack of consultation.

"We strongly believe the West Coast District Health Board (WCDHB) should own its hospital infrastructure rather than pursue a private-public funding model, particularly if it means proceeding with the current ACC ownership proposal," the group said in a submission to Parliament's health committee last month.

WCDHB owns its current Buller facilities.

The New Zealand Nurses Organisation says the West Coast population is ageing and not wealthy with increasing health needs.

"Therefore, a reduced and smaller health facility, as currently proposed, is not future focused and not fit for purpose in this context. The current proposals should be scrapped," NZNO says.

The Association of Salaried Medical Specialists (ASMS) says senior doctors support Saturday's protest about the shoddy decision-making and flawed funding model.

The funding model is likely to strip millions of dollars out of patient care in the region, says Ian Powell, executive director of the ASMS.

NZN