Tuesday September 10, 2019
Last week we had the pleasure of hosting the Minister of Health, Hon Dr David Clark, at Whakatāne Hospital. He visited us on Tuesday to announce a new Mental Health and Addictions Service (MHAS), Pregnancy and Parenting Services (PPS). Whilst he was here we also took the opportunity to showcase some of the great work going on at Whakatāne.
The Minister’s announcement on PPS is an exciting one. The PPS is a service which works with mothers with addiction and/or mental health issues to support them, and ensure their children have the best start to life possible. The service is currently available in Tairawhiti, Waitemata, Hawkes Bay and Northland DHBs. Eastern Bay of Plenty has been selected as one of two new sites nationally. More details of PPS can be found in the sidebar included within this newsletter.
Response speeches to the Minister’s announcement were given by our MHAS Clinical Director Dr Fiona Miller and Toi Oranga Ngakau: Change Leader Peta Ruha.
Fiona noted the importance of the first 1000 days of a child’s life. This is a time of tremendous potential and enormous vulnerability. How well or how poorly mothers and children are nourished and cared for during this time has a profound impact on a child’s ability to grow, learn and thrive. This is because the first 1,000 days are when a child’s brain begins to grow and develop and when the foundations for their lifelong health are built.
Meanwhile Peta referenced Dame Whina Cooper’s famous quote: “Take care of our children. Take care of what they hear, take care of what they see, take care of what they feel. For how the children grow, so will be the shape of Aotearoa.” She added that we would be looking to leverage off the learnings of the other PPS providers around the country and that she felt the ultimate success of the service would be based on relationships and everyone working together.
The Minister was joined by MP for Waiariki Tamati Coffey who brought his eight-week-old son Tūtānekai and partner Tim Smith with him. It felt very appropriate that there was a baby there, given the focus of the service. It also provided a lovely opportunity to see that our Chair Sally Webb’s Public Health Nurse skills are as good as ever!
I’m delighted that this service will now be available to support our Eastern Bay of Plenty communities.
During his speak the Minister recognised the hard work of all those delivering health care in the Eastern Bay, and thanked all of you for the support you provide to our communities.
Following the announcement we had a chance to show the Minister briefly around the Mental Health Unit, Clinical Campus and main hospital before an informal lunch was held. At this event he was able to meet some of our Māori nursing graduates, Rural Health Immersion Programme (RHIP) students and our General Manager Māori Health Gains and Development Tricia Keelan, who spoke to him about our Te Toi Ahorangi Strategy.
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