Hawke’s Bay definitely needs a full-service genuinely first-world hospital. Not an shed covered with band aids, where services like diabetes care are provided out of containers.

An asset that will benefit the entire HB community, not an embarrassment hardly conducive to staff or patient welfare.

The plotting has begun, with an assortment of players involved – Tukituki MP and former DHB Board member Anna Lorck and the region’s mayors from the political side.

And businessman Dan Druzianic (also a former DHB Board member and currently chair of the HB  Regional Investment Company and a director of Napier Port and Unison), who has lately floated a plan for building anew on a greenfield site at York Road and the Expressway … that would be in Hastings.

A proposition guaranteed to re-kindle anguished cries from Bluff Hill that ‘Napier’s hospital was stolen; we must have our own hospital again!’

That prospect has as much chance as Napier getting its own nuclear power plant.

But what health service does Napier need?

To her credit, Napier’s Mayor Kirsten Wise has bravely acknowledged that a hospital for Napier is simply not in the cards. She has also served on the DHB Board and knows the financial realities of providing modern medical services to a relatively small Hawke’s Bay population base, to say nothing of tiny Napier.

But she properly insists that Napier be right at the operating table when the region’s medical facility needs are dissected and diagnosed.

So, what are those needs? And how should they be physically met?

By all accounts, Napier Health on Wellesley Road, part of Te Whatu Ora Te Matau a Māui, is modern and first-rate, offering a robust range of health care services – physio, speech & occupational therapists, immunisations, lab work, oral health, mental health & addictions, radiology, hydrotherapy and more. Within Napier Health is City Medical, privately owned by a group of Napier/Taradale doctors. It’s an urgent care facility open 8am-9pm every day of the year, with a nurse-led overnight service. 

Does this facility need improvement, expansion? What types of medical care need to be – and can be – better provided at Napier Health or City Medical, or in what other kinds of facilities and locations in Napier? Something on the scale of the new Kaweka Hospital (not yet in full bloom) in Hastings?

What about emergency resilience? Even with the loss of bridges, our recent cyclone disaster did not put the region’s health system to the ultimate test. Very unfortunately, deaths occurred; but nothing like the volume of casualties that would likely result from a tsunami or earthquake … and especially one that destroyed road connectivity between Napier and Hastings.

In the face of such an emergency, what pre-existing facilities should exist on the Napier side of the Tutaekuri River? In what non-liquefaction zone?! And where do the required medical personnel actually live who would provide the required services?

So, there are clearly questions that need to be raised and answered as Hawke’s Bay addresses its future medical infrastructure. And Napier needs to prepare its ‘ask’.

Answers to these questions need to be clinically informed and driven, not politically gamed.

Were I Mayor Wise, I would assemble a team of Napier’s ‘best and brightest’ health care practitioners, add an accountant or two (as a check on blue sky wishful thinking) and a dose of non-ideological, public-spirited consumers (to ensure an informed patient/user perspective), and begin preparing a well-grounded Napier Health Care Delivery Plan.

A new hospital will be coming to Hawke’s Bay, one way or the other. The clinical need study and pre-feasibility work are underway. But a hospital will not – cannot – be the complete answer to the region’s medical facilities requirements or access needs. It’s not too soon for Napier to get its scrubs on and put its treatment plan together.


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    1. Fully support a Te Whata Ora full health facility in Napier.
      We were supposed to get that in Wellesley Road.

  1. At last we have a person not afraid to outline a strategy to deal with the aftermaths of the cyclone and propose publically some suggestions. Now will NCC pick up the ball? I doubt it.

  2. Totally agree there should be a feasibility study undertaken as to where to place a new hospital within the Napier city boundary for all the reasons listed above

    1. Agree – why just examine greenfield sites in Hastings
      Why not Taradale / Napier locations etc
      Why does it need to be spread out
      A fed mid rise Buildings like Dunedin over 3/4 blocks with parking not 24 hectares as “ Hastings lobby group “ propose for flaxmere

      1. The location issue for a hospital involves liquefaction and tsunami risks. Hence no suitable locations in Napier.

  3. By “ all accounts Napier health on Wellesley is modern & first rate offering robust health “
    No one from Napier every said but some from Hastings has
    Where is the evidence to support this ?
    Robust ?
    Balanced ?

    Seriously Tom – is this journalism
    Or protecting the status quo at Memorial
    So vested interests propose their site in Hastings – miracle
    Could Anna Lorck & her buddies please butt out and perhaps in her case try being an MP

    1. Informed Napierites like Diana Kirton and Barbara Arnott, both of whom are quite familiar with DHB issues, have sung the praises of Wellesley facility.

  4. How patronising is this from the writer
    “A proposition guaranteed to re-kindle anguished cries from Bluff Hill that ‘Napier’s hospital was stolen; we must have our own hospital again!’

    Having family in Napier – the services napier was promised and originally got – many have been whittled away
    Perhaps when you write this – consider the services promised as part of the deal to close Napier hospital before pity piece on the new hospital

    This constant need to put down napier / Napier bash is tired / boring & condescending

  5. Yes there are so many abandoned facilities which have been left by governments not willing to cough up. Napier Hospital being one, Waipukurau Hospital is a disgrace lowering everyone’s land and house value surrounding. I believe governments need to properly abolish buildings other than leave them abandoned.
    Surely a medical facility could have been provided there to compliment Wellesley Street. Many people with cancer have to travel to Hastings. Surely split the services to lessen the stress as everyone South has to travel to Hastings.

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