That’s the title of this week’s Guest Buzzmaker column by former Napier Councillor Robin Gwynn.

Robin is alarmed by the proposal developed by the six Central Region DHBs to consolidate hospital services into two “hub” hospitals — a so-called “Dual Hub Network” — over the next 10-12 years.

In this scenario, certain services at Hawke’s Bay Regional Hospital might be eliminated, and moved to Palmerston North. Or vice versa.

So far, this proposal — the Regional Clinical Services Plan — has circulated primarily within the DHB community.

The “draft for discussion” document notes: “Considerable investment in community health care centres, a regional decision making and quality framework, and regional quality transport, information and communications systems must occur before this change in hospital services can become a reality.”

I’ll say!

One would expect heaps of public consultation and debate over the pros (there must be some) and cons (read Gwynn’s column) before any strategy so sweeping were adopted. But the detailed plan for progressing the strategy presented in the “draft for discussion” document makes no mention of public involvement … implicitly leaving that to the individual DHBs to work out.

And, of course, Hawke’s Bay doesn’t have a DHB now, do we?! So if you have a concern, your best bet is to catch that man commissioner of the people, Sir John Anderson, the next time he sprints through town.

Tom

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