Board candidate focuses on promoting GP visits

By Patrick O'Sullivan

Hawke's Bay District Health Board candidate Beverley Fullerton-Smith. Photo / Supplied
Hawke's Bay District Health Board candidate Beverley Fullerton-Smith. Photo / Supplied

Promoting GP visits first instead of the hospital's Emergency Department (ED) is a focus for Hawke's Bay District Health Board (DHB) candidate Beverley Fullerton-Smith.

"The health promotion side of the health system in this country needs a great deal of support," she said.

"People are presenting to ED when they could be going to their GP.

"In a lot of the lower socio-economic community that message is not getting through, mainly because they see the hospital as the first stop to help them."

She said this contributed to the DHB's struggle to stay within the Government's goal of shorter patient times in ED.

"That's always the main problem with our hospital, otherwise we do pretty well.

"If you get a whole lot of status two patients coming in one after the other - and I've been there when the ambulances arrive - anyone who is not so much at risk just has to wait.

"That's just the order of the day and the staff can only do what they can."

A part-time worker at the Hawke's Bay Hospital, she is running with full permission of her employers.

"The CEO in his newsletter encourages staff to put their name forward."

She said that in her 20 years working for the DHB she had seen past philosophies and strategic plans fail to reach grass roots employees and she supports the Transform and Sustain initiative promoted by the board to shake up service deliveries to make them more efficient.

"The DHB can only do its best with the money the current government gives it and it is the ability to apportion that money for the betterment of the community, keeping ideals they have to the fore."

She said transformation was needed, despite multi-million dollar surpluses which "could disappear overnight".

She has worked in the hospital pharmacy, medical library and health promotion teams and says she has witnessed first-hand the dedication of colleagues and the services provided. "I am a very keen observer."

She is a former Hawke's Bay regional councillor and has held governance roles in organisations such as the East Coast/Hawke's Bay Conservation Board, Eastern and Central Community Trust.

She continues to serve as a Justice of the Peace and is a trustee of the Ballantyne Medical and Surgical Education and Research Trust.

Community involvement includes Women's Refuge, Hawke's Bay Ecumenical Hospital Chaplains' Association, National Council of Women and the Association of Anglican Women.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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