Western Leader : January 13th 2011
www.westernleader.co.nz Thursday, January 13, 2011 Discover the world while you work Get the skills and experience you need for a job in the Travel and Tourism industry by studying at MIT. Apply now for February 2011. 0800 62 62 52 • www.manukau.ac.nz/tourism 7664 MIT000133 C Long wait almost over By CATHERINE HEALY IT S been a long time coming. But west Aucklanders might finally have unrestric- ted access to the emergency centre at Waitakere Hospital by the end of the summer. Waitemata District Health Board chairman Lester Levy says the board is going hell for leather to get the service operating 24/7 for all patients in March. But he says it s not a sub- stitute service for a GP and he is asking people not to flood the emergency centre. In 2009 the hospital s emergency care centre was only open during the day. Last year that was extended into the evening. It has been open 24/7 for children since July 2010. The board wanted to open the service fulltime for all patients by the end of last year but Dr Levy says increasing the hours over the holiday period is not ideal because staff are away. The issue was reported to be a source of frustration for former board chairwoman Kay McKelvie when she resigned in 2009. It s high time the people of west Auckland had a 24/7 emergency care centre. I think it s great that it s happening, she says. Auckland s deputy mayor Penny Hulse was a Waite- mata Health Board member for six years and says opening the emergency care centre 24/7 is long overdue . But I do understand the complications. As a board member I know how hard we tried. You can t open it half-baked and not properly staffed. It s exciting that we ve finally nailed it for the west. New Lynn MP David Cunliffe says the emergency care centre should have been open 24/7 years ago. There have been many missed deadlines. I ve always said there s no point having North Shore s A&E over- flowing with westies when we could have our own out here. Dr Levy says it is essential that people use the emer- gency centre properly so that it runs smoothly. We need to make sure it is not flooded. We need people to understand its use. It s not a substitute for a GP or an accident and emerg- ency clinic. Last month 3097 patients visited the Waitakere centre, compared to 1968 in Decem- ber 2009. Waitakere Hospital paedia- trician Tim Jelleyman, who helped get the emergency centre open 24/7 for children, says there were a lot of rou- tine cases that could have been dealt with by a GP. The centre is an expensive and precious resource. When people come in for a prescrip- tion or with a minor injury, that s not an appropriate use of the system. We re challeng- ing the community to think about that and only come when it s really necessary. Outbreak of paralysing disease hits ducks By VANITA PRASAD Dire ducks: Lyn Macdonald with two of the sick ducks that have been brought into the Bird Rescue Trust in Green Bay. Photo: VANITA PRASAD Dozens of dead ducks have been found in Waitakere s waterways in the past two weeks because of an outbreak of the paralysing botulism toxin. Roy Williams property backs on to a stream running from the Glendale pond. He has found 26 dead ducks near his home in the past six days. It s awful to see these poor birds suffer like this. I put a piece of wet bread not even 10cm away from the mouth of one but she couldn t even move to eat it. Botulism causes ducks to lose control of their head and necks before the paralysis spreads to the rest of their bodies. Auckland Council stormwater manager Grant Ockleston says warm water is a breeding ground for bacteria. It s been hot in Auckland in the past few weeks which has heated up water temperatures and reduced water flow, a perfect breeding ground for the botulism-causing bacteria. The council put barley straw into the water to neutralise the botulism bacteria in September. Lyn Macdonald runs the Bird Rescue Trust in Green Bay and says she has received ducks with botu- lism symptoms from streams and ponds in Glen Eden and Hender- son s Riverpark. She s also cared for more than 30 sick birds found at Western Springs. People need to stop polluting the waterways by throwing away their grass clippings, dead branches and rubbish because it blocks the flow of the water which creates these con- ditions, she says. Auckland Regional Public Health Service medical officer of health Simon Baker says avian botulism is a very low risk to humans but people should clean their hands well after being in contact with sick and dead birds. Anyone who finds dead ducks should contact the Auckland Coun- cil to have them removed. Sick ducks can be taken to the Bird Res- cue Trust.
January 11th 2011
January 14th 2011