1 July 2019
Improved access to after-hours and urgent healthcare for Kāpiti
Some Kāpiti residents requiring emergency ambulance care and a possible trip to Wellington Hospital now have a treatment option closer to home. Thanks to a joint partnership between local general practice teams, the Kāpiti Health Advisory Group, Wellington Free Ambulance and the CCDHB, some patients will receive funded treatment by their GP or medical centre.
Now, following clinical assessment, paramedic staff can work with the patient’s GP or urgent care centre to establish if funding treatment can be provided at a local centre, without a trip to hospital.
CCDHB Strategy, Innovation and Performance Director Rachel Haggerty says the changes have been welcomed by local GPs and patients.
“This is what locals have been asking for and it’s been an excellent collaboration between Wellington Free Ambulance, Tū Ora Compass Health PHO, and ourselves. A key to getting this off the ground has been working with the Kāpiti Health Advisory Group (KHAG) and the Mayor to identify the community’s priority needs.”
Ms Haggerty says the focus has been on supporting the community, and implementing a system which takes care of all the key players – GPs and their staff, ambulance paramedics, and the patient – to make the process of receiving health care as seamless as possible.
“We want to avoid Kāpiti people having to come in to Emergency Department if at all possible. It’s often not the ideal place, wait times can be several hours, and then there’s a long haul to get home again. Ambulance services take people to hospital, but can’t bring them home again. People often get stranded in Wellington, adding another level of stress to being unwell.”
Every year, more than 6200 Kāpiti residents travel to Wellington Hospital Emergency Department seeking treatment outside of normal consulting hours. More than half of people who attend ED travel by ambulance, but fewer than 50% actually end up requiring hospital admission. This places a huge strain on the available resources – both the hospital and the ambulance system – and on families and loved ones.
GP Clinical Lead and member of the establishment group, Dr Herman Van Kradenburg from Waikanae Health, says Kāpiti GPs have a lot of experience in urgent and emergency medicine which, until now, has been very under-utilised by the DHB.
“Over 10,000 patients are treated by the two existing urgent care centres, Waikanae Health and Team Medical, each year. We have the capacity and the skill right here in Kāpiti, so it’s a real bonus to our community that the CCDHB are funding an excellent front line health care service in the community where they live.”
Wellington Free Ambulance Relationships Manager and Extended Care Paramedic, Vanessa Simpson, highlights the collaboration between Wellington Free and GPs to seek the most appropriate and timely care for Kāpiti patients.
“Our highly trained clinicians always assess and work with patients to determine the best medical treatment, but this new service allows us to take a more collaborative approach. Being referred by Wellington Free to your GP, being closer to home and avoiding potential long waits in ED can make a big difference to how patients feel during what can be a really distressing time.”
The Kāpiti Health Advisory Group (KHAG), a community organisation advocating for patient needs, has been working towards improved access to urgent care for Kāpiti residents and welcomes the new services. KHAG is chaired by Kathy Spiers and was established with support of Kāpiti Coast Council Mayor Gurunathan who says this is a significant development for the community in terms of a safer and convenient delivery of services closer to home.
“CCDHB’s collaborative approach is a testimony to other government agencies on what can be achieved if they strike a genuine partnership with communities to co-design solutions. On behalf of the community I congratulate Kathy Spiers and her team of dedicated and skilled volunteers who have put in thousands of hours to deliver this outcome. I’m keen to see further collaboration.”
Image: Collaboration between Wellington Free Ambulance and Kapiti GPs means local residents may be able to access urgent and after hours care closer to home. (L-R paramedics James Currie and Vanessa Simpson outside Waikanae Health with Dr Herman van Kradenburg.