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Out of town patients have options

People living in Gisborne and the East Coast who need to go to Waikato Hospital need not worry about accommodation says Tairawhiti District Health Chief Executive Jim Green.

“Our transport office has always organised travel and accommodation for Tairawhiti people that need to travel out of the district for health care and who meet the criteria for support with this. Nothing has changed and we will continue to do this.”

Hilda Ross House on the Waikato Hospital campus in Hamilton is situated in a building that has been identified as earthquake prone and will be demolished. Hilda Ross House is currently used by many Tairāwhiti based patients and their support person as accommodation while at Waikato Hospital.

“A story in the Gisborne Herald stated that the closure meant patients will have to find alternative accommodation. That is completely inaccurate,” says Mr Green.

“We understand that when someone needs to travel to receive treatment or have an investigative procedure it can be very stressful. That is why we have a transport office. We want to make sure this process is as straightforward as possible for the patient and the travelling support person – where the criteria for support is met”

“Implications in last night’s story that patients will face added expenses for accommodation costs are alarmist. We understand that many of our patients face financial challenges. This will be taken into account when considering future arrangements.”

“The closure of Hilda Ross House is necessary due to the earthquake prone nature of the building it is housed in. The closure will affect not only patients from Tairawhiti but from other Midland Region Hospitals that also send patients to Waikato.”

“Finding an accommodation solution that is convenient for all patients is a priority. To do this I will be working with Waikato and the other DHBs”, says Mr Green. “This will take some time, but a solution will be in place before the September closure.”

“Any future solution is unlikely to be as convenient as the onsite arrangements we now have at Hilda Ross House. However we will consider not only where people will stay but how they will get between their accommodation and the hospital. Waikato DHB currently operates a shuttle service for this purpose”.

On average Tairāwhiti District Health send twenty patients each week to Waikato for treatment.

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