Wellington Scoop

Improving health in Porirua: government wants help from local advisors

News from NZ Government
The Government wants to work with the Porirua community to reduce the number of local people being admitted to Wellington Hospital with preventable conditions.

Health Minister Tony Ryall says patients with avoidable admissions coming into Wellington Hospital are almost twice as likely to come from Porirua as the other areas that Capital and Coast DHB is serving, and the Government wants to focus on this disparity.

“A lot of people could avoid going to hospital if they have improved living conditions and earlier intervention to prevent illnesses,’’ says Mr Ryall.

“There is already a lot of frontline work in disease prevention happening in the community – like the Government’s Rheumatic Fever Prevention Programme. The health sector wants to work with other government departments, agencies and local groups to build on those efforts to improve the health of Porirua people.”

Mr Ryall says Porirua is one of 10 new communities chosen to be a part of the Social Sector Trials aiming to test new ways of delivering better social and health services to New Zealanders.

“Social sector trials recognise that change is best driven by the people who know their own communities. Government agencies can best contribute by working closely with those communities and ensuring they too adopt a joined-up approach.’’

Each Trial location develops a local Advisory Group with representatives including Iwi, local government, central government agencies, community representatives and social services providers.

A Porirua Trial Lead will be selected over the coming weeks with the Trial beginning in July and will also be expected to work closely with the local district health board, Capital and Coast DHB, and local health providers to ensure services and goals are joined-up.

The Trial lead works with the Advisory Group to develop a local Social Sector Trials Plan.

“If we can make good progress with reducing avoidable hospital admissions by preventing health problems earlier, we’d really be making a difference for people in Porirua,” says Education Minister and Mana National List MP, Hekia Parata.

Social Sector Trials began in 2011 in six locations and focused on achieving youth outcomes in these communities.

The Government’s decision to expand the Trials to 10 new communities provides more opportunities to test the model and what works best in different places and situations.

Ms Parata says the Ministries of Education, Health, Social Development, Justice and The New Zealand Police are working together to deliver this approach in partnership with communities and will be in touch with community leaders and service providers about the next steps.

“The launch of a health-focused Social Sector Trial in Porirua is a show of support for those who live and work in the area and who work to make a difference. This is a commitment from the Government to provide the support to get there,” says Ms Parata.