National Womens Hospital
The relocation of National Women's Hospital 2001
- From bad to worse at National Women's, WHW Dec 2001
- Some progress on National Women's Hospital, WHW Sept 2001
- The loss of integrated women's health services and a well women's focus that will result from the implementation of HSDP, April 2001
- The future of National Women's Hospital, WHW June/July 2001
- Six years of questioning the plans for NWH, WHW June/July 2001
- The new National Women's Hospital: should we be concerned?, WHW June 2001
December 2001 Women's Health Watch
Earlier in the year, Women's Health Action took a deputation to the Auckland District Health Board regarding future plans for NWH when it is amalgamated into the new general hospital on the Grafton site. At that time we gained support from some O&Gs in the hospital, but many other staff were won over by the promise of a spanking new facility.
Concerns that NWH would lose its identity and about a lack of privacy for women giving birth seemed to be allayed by the promise of a separate entrance and a second private'bridge' between the delivery suites and pre-birth assessment and antenatal facilities. We reported this in the September Watch. Now it seems that these are not certain, the board lacking funds to provide them, and to add insult to injury, a new management structure has been foisted onto the hospital. In late November hospital staff were alarmed to learn that the position of General Manager, which had only recently been filled by Cathy Handley, had been disestablished and that a manager was to be sought to manage NWH and Starship jointly. The position is now called General Manager Women's and Children's Health Services.
Within days Cathy Handley was gone, and despite staff outrage (ironically led by Dr Rob Buist who had previously led support for the changes) the proposal is set to go ahead. The prediction is that women's health will lose out to the more emotionally appealing demands of child health.
In the meantime our worry about the submerging of the women's health focus in Auckland tertiary services look depressingly nearer to fruition.
September 2001 Women's Health Watch
The Health Service Delivery Plan team that is master-minding the transfer of National Women's Hospital in Auckland into the new Acute Services Building (ASB) on the Grafton site has come up with some potential solutions to concerns about the shift.
NWH will be spread across the new ASB and the old Tower Block (existing Auckland Hospital). It is now planned to remove the ramp that currently takes people to the front entrance of Auckland Hospital and to create a NWH entrance at one level lower that the present front door.This is separate from the ASB entrance and would have NWH signage.
This would enable women to be dropped at the main door, or park briefly if urgent access is required.
A lift would take people directly to the NWH floors in the Tower Block and an airbridge at the same level would connect to the NWH floors of ASB.
Planning has also started on the Greenlane site which will contain an ambulatory centre, rehabilitation centre and short stay surgical. The current plan gives a completion date for these of late 2003. Outpatients' women's services and day-surgery for women will be located at the Greenlane site.
The Loss of integrated women's health services and a well women's focus that will result from the implementation of HSDP
April 2001, Women's Health Action paper on the planned shifting of National Women's Hospital
Paper taken to the Auckland District Health Board
Women's Health Action Trust argues that the current plans for National Women's Hospital will result in a reduction of quality of service for women. Our concern has been expressed throughout the consumer consultation process, as has the concern of the Maternity Services Consumer Council, Auckland Women's Health Council and the National Council of Women. These groups have argued consistently that the HSDP(Health Services Delivery Plan) will result in a downgrading of services for women and threaten the women-focused wellness perspective that exists in a women's hospital. Also there has been disquiet among clinical staff at NWH about the proposal, expressed to us in a variety of forums.... Read More
Sandra Coney discusses the controversial plan to move NWH into the Auckland Hospital, with some fragments left behind at Greenlane.
Five years ago Auckland women's groups were reassured that a plan to close the existing National Women's Hospital and relocate services into a large new general hospital in Grafton would not result in any loss of identity and reduction in service. They were told that in fact it would better. But as the Health Services Delivery Plan which mandates the shift reaches its final stages, it is clear that an inexorable process of compromise has led to the hospital being carved up, with services located in different parts of the city... Read More
July 2001 Women's Health Watch
- From the beginning of the review of hospital services in Auckland, WHA has taken part in every consultation meeting about Health Services Delivery Plan, arguing against the loss of stand alone women's health services. We began attending meetings in 1995.
- In 1998 we asked if we could take part in a review of the Women's Health Services report prepared by the Clinical Integration Committee of Auckland Healthcare. We argued that the report, which was to be used as part of the planning for the new services, did not take a broad enough view of women's health services.
- May 1999: we wrote to Christine Fletcher, Mayor of Auckland voicing our concerns.
- December 1999: we wrote our first letter to the new Prime Minister and the Minister of Health, challenging the idea that women's health services should be incorporated into the new general hospital design. We asked for a review of the plans.
- September 2000: we wrote to the Minister of Health again, with more specific concerns about fragmentation of services between the new ASB, the Tower and the Greenlane site. Again, we asked for a review.
- February 2001: Alison Sutton, one of our Trustees, was appointed consumer adviser to the team reviewing the developed design of HSDP. As the review proceeded, Alison became increasingly concerned about the way women's services would be provided across three buildings and two sites and asked for those concerns to be included in the review report.
- April 2001: Supported by six other women's groups, WHA took a deputation to the newly appointed Auckland District Health Board asking the Board to review the plans for women's services considering the fragmentation that results from HSDP. We asked the Board to show us evidence that supported the split site arrangement they proposed. We also wrote to all women and Auckland MPs.
- May 2001: WHA formally asked the HSDP developed design review group to consider our concerns as it presented its report to the ADHB. Sandra wrote an article for the NZ Herald. We wrote again to the ADHB arguing that the information they provided did not provide an adequate justification for the split in services. We asked for a financial comparison of a stand-alone women's hospital and the cost of the NWH service in the ASB, the reconfigured Tower block at Grafton and the new women's services that will be developed at Greenlane. We have not had a reply, and this information has never been provided.
- During May 20 senior clinicians from NWH presented a petition to the HSDP review group supporting our concerns and asking for a review of the plans. They also met with ADHB and HSDP management to discuss these issues.
- June 2001: there has not been a review of services and apparently the hospital will go ahead as planned with the split in services across two sites. It is still not confirmed that the ASB will have a dedicated bridge linking delivery theatres and postnatal wards and a separate entrance for NWH. As far as we can tell from the minutes of ADHB meetings, the board has never had an in-depth discussion about the issues we have raised.
Camille Guy investigates plans to shift National Women's Hospital, or at least some of it, to the new mega-hospital on the Auckland Hospital Grafton Road site. Women's groups fear fragmentation and lament putting low-risk births in a high-tech setting. Relax your vigilance on women's health issues and men will 'let your services slide or be regimentalised so mothers are just cogs in an inhuman state machine'.
That was the advice of Dr Doris Gordon, National Women's Hospital pioneer in the 1950s.
To some Auckland women's health advocates Gordon's warning seems just as relevant today. They fear plans to transfer NWH services to two new sites will indeed render mothers 'cogs' in a machine and they complain of inadequate community group consultation... Read More
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