Western Leader : November 16th 2010
www.westernleader.co.nz Tuesday, November 16, 2010 Family centre for all By VANITA PRASAD DOCTORS, dentists, radi- ology, student tutoring and computer training are some of the services west Auck- landers will be able to access through the Whanua Ora pro- gramme from next April. The government has named the Waipareira Trust as one of 25 providers under the $134.3 million nationwide scheme that aims to make health, education, social and community services more accessible to families. The Waipareira Trust has spent more than $4 million developing its Whanau Cen- tre, which is set to open in the former John Henry Centre in Henderson. The trust is one of four providers under the National Urban Maori Authority. Waipareira Trust chief executive John Tamihere says prices for GP visits will be kept to a minimum for enrolled patients to improve access to healthcare for low income families. Anyone is eligible to enrol at the centre and it has the capacity to accept 20,000 patients in its first year. The ground floor of the cen- tre will be used for medical facilities. The Wai Health GP service from Ratanui St in Henderson will move into the building alongside an acci- dent and emergency ward, a new radiology service and dental clinic. A pharmacy and cafe will also be included on the first floor. The second floor will have facilities for community meetings and conferences while the fourth floor will be home to the centre s edu- cation services including accounting and computer training along with Kip McGrath tutoring services. Plans for the third, fifth and sixth floors are still to be decided. Other services the trust intends to provide under Whanau Ora include alcohol and drug counselling, programmes for youth at risk, budgeting advice, a food bank, and a home-based fam- ily start service. Mr Tamihere says the Waipareira Trust has not used Whanau Ora funding for the building renovations. But the trust is now eligible to bid for government funding to provide its services. HealthWest chairman Philip Rushmer says he has doesn t have much infor- mation about the services the Whanau Centre intends to provide. He says if other providers are not aware of its activities they don t get the chance to bid for the same contracts. It s public money, there needs to be fair contes- tability, he says. I don t like the lack of transparency. All we have is hearsay about what is happening. But Mr Tamihere says the funding allocation is a public process. All contracts are discoverable. All funding is discoverable. Mr Tamihere says he has put in a Official Information Act to find out what funding HealthWest has received. Waitemata District Health Board director of primary care strategy Carol Wilson says: Waitemata DHB supports the development of Whanau Ora services in the community, and is currently looking at opportunities where some DHB services might work collaboratively alongside Whanau Ora services. Trust wants to develop new site for drunk youth to sober up Master plans: John Tamihere outside the planned site for a youth detox centre. By VANITA PRASAD A safe place for drunk youths to stay until they sober up could open in Henderson next year. The Waipareira Trust wants to develop an 1800 square metre site in an industrial area to set up the detox centre. Trust chief executive John Tamihere believes it would be the first centre of its kind in New Zealand. He says it would free up police resources by providing an alternative way to deal with troublesome youths. He says police officers could take youths to the centre between 10pm and 6am instead of putting them into custody. There would be nursing staff, social workers and a security team on hand. Mr Tamihere wants to help keep Maori and Pacific Island youths out of jail. We are obligated to curb youth criminality. The police have to book the people they pick up and a lot of kids that get caught up by ring leaders get criminal records. Waitakere police Youth Aid senior sergeant Ross Hunter says he is unable to comment on the detox centre until he knows more about it. He says not all youths picked up by the police are charged. Most intoxicated youths that we pick up are taken home to their parents. It s when they ve commit- ted an offence that we would charge them. He says taking home drunk youths doesn t take up a lot of police resources. As a whole, alcohol is a problem in our community, but intoxicated youth specifi- cally isn t a significant issue. The social development ministry say it has discussed the centre with Mr Tamihere but no contracts have been signed. A spokesman says: The ministry is supportive of any positive plans to address the risks associated with alcohol abuse, especially by our youth. With regard to the trust s proposal for a detox centre in west Auckland, we would need more information about the proposal before being able to comment further. But Mr Tamihere is confi- dent the plan will eventually get support. The concept of having somewhere to put pissed youth sounds easy enough but it s not, he says. If we were to always wait around for resources to be allocated we d be waiting 10 years for anything to get done.
November 12th 2010
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