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Dr John Sprunt of Ōtaki Medical Centre

The signing of a memorandum of understanding between two district health boards will give greater clarity to Ōtaki and Te Horo residents, says Dr John Sprunt of Ōtaki Medical Centre.

“This means that if we do have to refer a patient in a certain direction, mainly going south, I’ve got something at registrar/consultant level,” Dr Sprunt says. “I can say that they’re entitled to come down.”

On July 25, Rachel Haggerty, Capital & Coast District Health Board’s director of strategy, innovation and performance, and MidCentral District Health Board chief executive Kathryn Cook signed the memorandum setting out an agreement for the two DHBs to work together.

The MoU is intended to offer greater visibility of the existing partnership and provide more confidence to people living in Ōtaki. Residents of the Ōtaki Ward of Kapiti Coast District Council are part of MidCentral DHB and receive most of their health services from MidCentral.

However, since 2004, residents have been able to access services at Capital & Coast DHB if it is more convenient for them to do so. 

In 2018, a close working partnership between the two boards was reaffirmed and it was agreed that the original arrangement, which allowed Ōtaki residents to access a range of Capital & Coast services, would continue.

Dr Sprunt said the original agreement was signed 14 years ago, but it had become less clear as time went by.

“What this new agreement means is that it has put this back in sharp relief. It means who is allowed to go south [for services], and we won’t hopefully get the push-back that we’ve had of late where referrals have been put to Wellington and they have been sent back up to MidCentral Health.”

Dr Sprunt said while at one end of the health spectrum it could delay important health needs, for the majority it was just troublesome. 

“Health boards and hospitals are big animals and if anyone phones up for an

appointment or to find out what’s happening, it’s quite difficult to get that sort of information. So it does complicate that when it’s unclear for patient and practitioner where the referral is.” 

Dr Sprunt says the new memorandum of understanding is to do with secondary health services, that local GPs see in their clinic. 

“We would have the expectation that our referrals would be seen in six or eight week’s time. There’s a lot discussed online [in social media] about ambulance and acute services. The MoU doesn’t pertain to that.”

Kathryn Cook said the MoU signified the positive relationship MidCentral DHB had with Capital & Coast

“We will now be working even more closely with Capital & Coast to ensure people in Ōtaki and Te Horo have access to the healthcare they need to live healthy lives in a well community.”

See the MoU HERE or on the MidCentral DHB website:

MoU signing welcome news for local doctor



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