By SHELLEY TOPP
A proposal for a new family healthcare centre at the Rangiora Health Hub site by 2021 has been announced, amid hopes it may eventually provide a 24-hour service.
It was revealed last Thursday by Carolyn Gullery, the general manager of planning and funding for the Canterbury District Health Board (CDHB).
She told a public meeting in the Rangiora Town Hall that it had yet to be approved by the board’s directors.
Under the proposal, the board will invite a general practice/broader primary healthcare centre to build a new facility on land at the hub site and connect with the services available there.
“We are going to make that offer public,” Carolyn said.
It was hoped that the healthcare centre would eventually provide the 24-hour healthcare service at Rangiora for the Waimakariri District that two community-led petitions have sought.
The first petition, organised in 2011 by Paula Thackwell and Helen Hirst, of Rangiora, identified the need for an emergency after-hours medical centre in Rangiora.
The $7 million Rangiora Health Hub was opened in November 2015, but fell short of what the community had lobbied for. It resulted in another petition, organised earlier this year by Sandi MacLean, of Rangiora, asking for the CDHB to resource an after-hours medical facility at the Rangiora hub.
Sandi and her husband, David, presented the petition to Carolyn at last Thursday’s meeting to pass on to the CDHB directors.
She said there were several reasons why she decided to organise the petition, which attracted almost 10,500 signatures
“In Christchurch, children have been waiting for up to four hours at night or at the weekends to see a doctor. At night, mums and dads are having to cope with a sick child and their siblings are often not getting home until 3am,” she said.
“This was the case recently with my own grandchildren.” She also knew of a case where an elderly person was taken to the accident and emergency department at Christchurch Hospital, discharged in the early hours of the morning, and had to pay $100 for a taxi back to Rangiora.
There was also huge growth in Waimakariri, with two new schools and two new rest homes planned, plus a new sports facility. A population of 80,000 is predicted by 2023.
The opening date for another new facility at the Rangiora Health Hub site was also announced at the meeting, which was organised by Waimakariri MP Matt Doocey.
The Rangiora Community Services Centre, which Carolyn said was planned many years ago, will open on August 21.
It will have a range of services, including child and family health, adult community mental health, public health nurses, paediatric and diabetes services, cardiac rehabilitation, a hand clinic, orthopaedic services, general surgery and telehub capability. “That is just the beginning. We think we can expand it from there,” Carolyn said.
The telehub capability gives people the opportunity to go to the hub and have their consultation with a specialist without having to go into Christchurch.
Although the public meeting, attended by a large crowd, may not have delivered the after-hours service wanted by the community, Sandi said she was “very pleased” with the outcome.
“I think we are moving forward in a positive way for the area,” she said.