When Coasters can’t get onto a hospital waiting list, who do they call? Rev David Hastings.
It’s a new mission born of absolute frustration.
He’d originally arrived on the Coast to serve as a temporary minister in the Anglican church, then fell in love with the place and decided to retire there. All was well until he needed medical help.
After developing a painful hip condition and limp in early 2015, he endured a number of false treatment starts until getting a letter in May 2016 promising an appointment with a surgeon within the next four months.
With four months almost up he chased up on the promise only to be told he was well down the list and would not be seeing anyone soon.
Unwilling to accept this situation, Hastings wrote to the Minister of Health and received a reply advising that the initial four month promise had to be fulfilled as it was a legal document. He finally saw a surgeon in September 2016 and was told he had no remaining cartilage, had bone rubbing bone, but regardless, he still wouldn’t get an operation before Christmas. Wanting to get a more accurate date, he called the hospital and was told, again, he was well down the list and would not be seen before March 2017.
Back to the minister… A week after writing he was contacted by the hospital to say they had a cancellation the following day.
Great news, so he leapt at it. Two hours later came a call, sorry, they didn’t have his hip components ready and back on the December list, which, thankfully, came to pass.
While he has no complaints at all about the treatment he eventually received, he is concerned that he only got action because he could write a letter and was prepared to stand up for himself.
He has since helped several other West Coast residents who had been caught up in similar delays.
“I’m trying to bring this out in the open,’’ says Hastings, “and I am offering my assistance to anybody who needs help.’’