Agencies join together to address collapse of State Highway 4


16 October 2019 


A collaborative framework has been put in place by various agencies dealing with the closure of State Highway 4.


A conference between Ruapehu District Council, Whanganui District Health Board, St John and Whanganui Regional Health Network on Friday [October 11] set up a joint approach to the transport difficulties caused by a major collapse of the road between Whanganui and Raetihi.


Whanganui DHB chief executive Russell Simpson reassured the public that health services would be maintained and that agencies were working collectively.


A further meeting on Monday [October 14] also involved Fire and Emergency NZ and primary care provider Ruapehu Health Limited and resulted in positive discussions to ensure services to the community continued.


St John Territory Manager Nigel Watson said that although transport times to Whanganui Hospital would now be longer, helicopter services would support the road ambulance crews, and any patients in critical or serious condition could be airlifted to the hospital.


For safety reasons, St John will not use the Fields Track alternative route.


“The health shuttle will remain available to transport patients to Whanganui for non-urgent appointments. Ambulances work as a network to ensure emergency ambulances are available in the area as needed,” said Watson.


The reinstatement of State Highway 4 is likely to be a lengthy process, and all agencies accepted the new arrangements would be long lasting.


Ruapehu mayor Don Cameron said that he welcomed the collaborative approach.


Ruapehu Council recognises the impact the road closure is having on local communities and organised two public meetings on Thursday, October 17, in Raetihi to update the community.