Big-town solutions are not rural solutions, says Hawke's Bay District Health Board (HBDHB) candidate Charles Lambert.

He has a good grasp of health issues, both the detail and the big picture, and is no stranger to governance after sitting on his children's schools' boards of trustees, the former Wairoa primary health organisation, the Hawke's Bay Regional Council Maori Standing Committee and as a trustee of Ngati Pahauwera overseeing investments from its 2012 Treaty of Waitangi settlement.

He said access to healthcare was "definitely a problem" in Wairoa District.

Red Cross was contracted to primary health organisation Health Hawke's Bay to transport patients to Wairoa, so they could access health services such as GP visits, pick up prescriptions or catch a HBDHB bus to Hawke's Bay Hospital.


"It obviously works for them in the Bay because they have a lot of volunteers down there but I don't think they have the same number of volunteers here in Wairoa."

He keeps track of the many Health Board reports "to get a heads-up on what they're up to".

"They have a lot of good ideas and programmes for the next five to 10 years.

"They track their work quite well. They have all these committees in place and they seem to report quite well but there is still a lot of work to be done to put things in place.

"I'm very keen to participate in the changes, especially if they are going to redesign services here in Wairoa and similarly in Central Hawke's Bay - tailor make something for the rural parts of the region. Big-town solutions are not rural solutions."

He said it was clear resources in Wairoa could be better utilised - Plunket was stretched while both the Health Ministry and Ministry of Social Development were active in the sector.

Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Social Development both looked after young pregnant mothers and their babies.

"I can see there is a bit of double handling. We could spread the specialists around rather than doubling up on them."

P was a "definite problem" in Wairoa which had no drug, alcohol or rehabilitation counselling available to youths.

"Young people practically have to appear in court before they can get any help."

An agency with big potential to effect change was the police.

"They are already on the front line and can effect change as incidents happen.

"I know they do so much already but, if there could be more referral action between police and community services, especially with youth and first-time offenders, then more ordinary citizens might be saved from the justice system."