Vaimoana Tapaleao is the New Zealand Herald's Pacific Affairs and People reporter.

Protester back on dialysis

Akerangi Marsters Kupa.
Akerangi Marsters Kupa.

A kidney patient who began refusing dialysis as a protest against an Auckland taxi company has had to take up the treatment again because of illness.

Akerangi Marsters Kupa was making a stand against Auckland Co-operative Taxis following complaints from several patients about delays and drivers' treatment of them. Her story featured in yesterday's Herald.

However, the 53-year-old from Otahuhu has since been forced to go into hospital for treatment after falling ill.

"Over the weekend I had a sore throat and a sore head ... I just stayed home in bed. I know I'm overloaded, I feel it, and I need to get that off.

"I was going to miss out today, but my leg is doing something different, so no," she said.

Dialysis is carried out on those who have had kidney failure, and can take up to six hours.

Mrs Marsters Kupa is among a group of dialysis patients who have complained to Auckland's district health boards about patients reportedly being delayed up to three hours, not being picked up from hospital, and drivers refusing to assist elderly and disabled people.

Mrs Marsters Kupa, who is blind, said she had been taken to the wrong house three times and had been left to "fend for myself" when dropped off at the hospital.

She has vowed never to travel by a Co-op taxi again - despite being entitled to the service - and yesterday paid her own way in a North Harbour Taxi.

That company was contracted with the patients for more than a decade.

It has been almost a month since Co-op took up the contract with healthAlliance, which looks after such services on behalf of Auckland DHBs.

A spokesman for Auckland Co-op did not want to comment to the media.

The healthAlliance chief executive, Mike Schubert, said it was investigating a number of concerns raised by patients.

- NZ Herald

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