INDEPENDENT NEWS

Hawke's Bay DHB renews contract with City Medical

Published: Fri 21 Nov 2003 10:47 AM
HBDHB strengthens commitment to Napier public with renewal of contract with City Medical
Hawke’s Bay District Health Board chair, Kevin Atkinson, said he was delighted to be signing a contract this week with City Medical, which will see them continuing to provide Urgent Medical services in Napier.
“The Urgent Medical service was established in December 1999 when the Napier Hospital emergency department transferred to Hastings. City Medical were the first tenants in the Napier Health Centre. While they are an independent business, quite separate from the DHB, they are subcontracted by the Board to provide Urgent Medical services in Napier, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
“This contract isn’t for a set length of time – but either party must give 24 months notice of intention to terminate. I think Napier people can have confidence that the District Health Board is committed to continuing to provide this service in Napier.
General Manager of City Medical, Alan Mackintosh said the Urgent Medical contract allowed City Medical to provide a more specialised service than other medical centres in Napier.
“We provide free 24 hour triaging (or assessment) by an experienced nurse, seven days a week. Triaging is a process designed to ensure people in need of urgent care are treated as priority cases. The nurse on first contact with the patient assigns a priority level or triage code, 1-5 with 1 being someone clearly needing immediate emergency care down to 5 where a person’s condition is minor and non urgent.
“In Napier, the Urgent Medical service is free for people who are triaged levels 1, 2 or 3 and their needs will range from needing immediate emergency attention to receiving medical assistance within 30 minutes.
“The other codes 4 & 5 represent the traditional GP service, one that you would pay for at your own GP and it is necessary to charge a fee since these services are not funded under the Urgent Medical contract.
“Over the past five years there has been some confusion about who pays for what and when. Our staff are happy to explain this to people – but the public need to be aware, that not every service is free,” Alan Mackintosh said. Kevin Atkinson said the DHB’s relationship with City Medical had developed into a cooperative model, which ensured a high standard of services for Napier people.
City Medical’s General Manager, Alan Mackintosh, said sharing expertise was one of the positive spin-offs from the partnership. “We have had an excellent working relationship with the DHB, and acknowledge the help we have had in developing operational and quality systems and we value and appreciate the huge contribution made by the DHB’s specialised emergency-nurses and care associate who in association with our GPs provide overnight services at City Medical.
“I think the level of understanding we have developed between the public and private providers in the Napier Health Centre gives us a great platform for look at levering further health benefits for our community,” Mr Mackintosh said.
“This is a great example of looking outside the square and working in a different way to ensure the right services are in the right place at the right time,” Kevin Atkinson said.

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