18 Jul 2011

Ngāti Ruanui elders want DHB to front over hospital cuts

6:26 am on 18 July 2011

Ngāti Ruanui's council of elders wants the Taranaki District Health Board to front up at marae over cuts the old people say are abhorrent and impractical.

The iwi is supporting a protest march on a DHB meeting in Hāwera on Monday.

The DHB proposes cutting half of Hāwera Hospital's 20 beds and moving six of the remaining beds to a rest home, as part of cuts to save over $1.1 million.

Inpatients will go to New Plymouth, 90 kilometres from Hāwera and 120km from Pātea.

The runanga's chief executive, Debbie Ngārewa-Packer, says Ngāti Ruanui pāhake (seniors) are distressed and anxious at proposals they find dumb and impractical.

She says a hui of pāhake rejected as absurd the idea of consultations via email, text and phone in poor communities with patchy mobile reception.