Minister gives Whanganui health initiatives big tick


9 July 2019

L-R: Nora, Lincoln & Hauora Nicholls with health minister David Clark.


Health minister David Clark has given a big tick to a number of health initiatives in Whanganui.


On a flying visit to Whanganui Hospital on Wednesday 3 July, Dr Clark was given a rundown on some of the community-based strategies being implemented.


The presentations represented the DHB’s mission to become more outward-facing, building partnerships to shift the focus away from the hospital and out to the community.


“It was great to see first-hand the Whanganui District Health Board partnering with a range of local agencies and community groups to improve the health and wellbeing of its people,” said Dr Clark.


“Like the Government, this diverse alliance is determined to see equitable health outcomes for Māori. And like us, they’re not afraid to do things differently.


“These partnerships take time to build and strengthen, but they’re vital to an effective and enduring local health response -- very exciting stuff.”


The session in the hospital boardroom was attended by DHB staff, GPs, iwi representatives and others, including Whanganui mayor Hamish McDouall, Central District Police Commander Chris De Wattignar and DHB chair Dot McKinnon.


DHB chief executive Russell Simpson spoke on the importance of the campaign “65,000 beds – your best bed is your own”, emphasising the need for whānau/family centred care delivered in the most appropriate environment, empowering communities to take control of their own health.


Whanganui Regional Health Network chairman Dr Ken Young and chief executive Judith MacDonald addressed some of the issues facing primary healthcare.


Erena Mikaere gave a presentation on the Ruapehu Whānau Transformation, an ambitious project led by the iwi of Ngāti Rangi and driven by the communities of Raetihi, Ohakune and Waiouru.


The Ruapehu Whānau Transformation plan centres on the wellbeing of whānau with five inter-connected focus areas – education, employment, housing, health and social outcomes – and Whanganui DHB is supporting this grass roots action to empower the community.


Equity in health outcomes, particularly for Māori, was the topic for Mary Bennett, chair of Hauora A Iwi, the DHB’s iwi partnership forum.


Whanganui police area commander Nigel Allan and Te Oranganui chief executive Wheturangi Walsh-Tapiata spoke about initiatives to address family harm, and Sport Whanganui’s Danny Jonas and anaesthetist Marco Meijer discussed the Fit for Surgery, Fit for Life programme.


Health minister David Clark got a beautiful surprise when he visited Whanganui Hospital on Wednesday … the chance to give one-day-old Hauora Nicholls a cuddle.


Orthopaedic registrar Dr Lincoln Nicholls and his pharmacist wife Nora gave birth to their new son Hauora in the hospital’s maternity ward on Tuesday morning.


Hearing of the minister’s visit, Lincoln couldn’t miss the chance to give Dr Clark an extra special welcome and grab a photo opportunity.


Not that Hauora Dawson Parore Nicholls was too fussed by the attention, sleeping peacefully throughout under his Hurricanes rugby beanie.


Then it was back to surgery for Lincoln and back to maternity for Nora, a health researcher for Victoria University and recipient of a Hauora Māori Health scholarship.