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Associate Health Minister Tariana Turia officially opened a new Breast Screening Unit at Kenepuru Community Hospital on Monday, August 16. The Minister wished the project, which is a collaboration between Capital & Coast, Hutt Valley and Wairarapa DHBs, every success.
"I'm delighted to be here. I actually came here about a month ago and experienced the services first hand and they are very good. I believe collaboration and building relationships between organisations is only part of the solution as we also need to do this in our communities. We need to build stronger relationships between communities and DHBs because only once we have engaged with women in the community will they believe in a project.
"Personally I'd like to see the Breast Screening bus going around, street by street, to get more people coming forward, because this relationship needs to be built down at the street level."
Director of Change Luke Worth spoke on behalf of Capital & Coast's CEO about this positive outcomes this collaborative approach will have. "One of the biggest challenges we have in New Zealand is DHBs working together. The collaboration involved with this new service is a perfect example of how we can put money into a service to work together and combine resources to build services closer to the communities that need them. This model sets the platform from which we can go forward to look at further sub-regional collaborations."
Hutt Valley DHB Chief Operating Officer, Jill Lane, said that Breast Screen Aotearoa had wanted to make its screening facilities closer to the women who needed it. "This new base at Kenepuru is a fantastic opportunity for Maori and Pacific Island women. Our thanks to our two DHB partners and the staff at Kenepuru who have made us feel so welcome - the Hutt staff are very excited to be here."
Service Manager Regional Screening Services, Donna Brown, said the planning had taken less than a year as Capital & Coast had quickly recognised that there was a shared goal. "The closest site for Porirua women was previously Johnsonville - and that was only open two days a week. The priority for us is getting better access to Maori and Pacific Island women and Kenepuru is the perfect site for that. It also frees up the mobile bus so that it has more flexibility to get around different areas."