Day 5 of the Yes We Care roadshow, saw us leave the east coast and take the stunning Arthurs pass road across the south island spine to Greymouth. The trip wasn’t without its adventures, with high winds and smoking brakes forcing us to make a few stops to take in the breath taking scenery. We couldn’t stop for long though, as we were hightailing it to try and make Greymouth in time for a public meeting on underfunded Orthopaedic services in the local area. We heard from locals, as well as representatives from the DHB; all seemed to echo that services were limited by budgetary constraints, and for that to change, more money needed to put into the health budget.
Many services are unable to be provided for coasters at their local hospital, and they have to make the long drive over to Christchurch to receive the care they need. We heard stories of people being transferred over to Christchurch, and then discharged without any arrangements to bring them home, leaving them far away from their support networks. One such person was Anna, who required regular trips to Christchurch for specialist treatment, she is also a widow from the Pike river mine disaster. She is now faced with a second cruel life journey, being unable to receive the care she needs, where she needs it.
Greymouth is currently building a new hospital, as the current one is not up to earthquake standards, and according to staff is apparently 80% likely to come down in a major quake, yet is still being used. The new hospital is being funded by a $60million loan, which means they’ll have to pay the government back out of their already stretched health budget, further exacerbating the problems coasters face accessing healthcare. Coasters are proud people, and are being hard done by, but as one chap told us, when you have an elephant and a mouse at the same table, you know which one is going to get more food.
The crew here on the Yes We Care roadshow would just like to make a special shout out to the women who overwhelmingly make up the health workforce on international women’s day. Because we have to care for those who care. Thankyou each and every one of you.