Home' Greymouth Star : January 11th 2014 Contents Greymouth Star
4 - Saturday, January 11, 2014
We appreciate the value of the Letters to the Editor
column as a public forum for West Coasters and
welcome your opinion and suggestions.
Letters may be submitted by post, fax or e-mail and
must include your name, address, phone number
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Please keep your letters honest, respectful and
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reserves the right to edit or not publish letters,
especially those that are o ensive or too long.
Post to PO Box 3, Greymouth, fax to 768 6205 or
email to firstname.lastname@example.org
uLetters to the editor
1569 - First lottery in England is drawn in St
1866 - Ship London is wrecked en route to
Australia. Some 231 people die.
1922 - A 14-year-old-boy,
Canadian Leonard ompson,
becomes the rst person to have his
diabetes successfully treated with
1928 - e English novelist and
poet omas Hardy dies.
1935 - Aviator Amelia Earhart begins a trip
from Honolulu to California, becoming the rst
woman to y solo across the Paci c Ocean.
1964 - US Surgeon General Luther Terry
issues the rst government report saying
smoking may be hazardous to one's health.
1974 - e rst sextuplets to sur vive are born
in Cape Town, South Africa.
1977 - France sets o an international uproar
by releasing Abu Daoud, a Palestinian suspected
of involvement in the massacre of Israeli athletes
at the 1972 Munich Olympics.
1981 - British team led by Sir Ranulph
Fiennes completes the longest and fastest
crossing of Antarctica, reaching Scott base after
75 days and 4022 km.
uWest Coast yesteryear
uToday in history
William James, US philosopher (1842-1910);
Rod Taylor, Australian actor (1930-); Jean
Chretien, Canadian prime minister
(1934-); Clarence Clemons, US
saxophonist with rock group Bruce
Springsteen and the E Street Band
(1942-2011); Kim Coles, US actress
(1962-); Mary J Blige, US singer
(1971-); Rahul Dravid, Indian
cricketer (1973-); Holly Brisley,
Australian actress (1978-).
"If you are ruled by mind you are a king; if by
body, a slave." --- Cato, Roman statesman and
historian (234 BC-149 BC).
"Just as He chose us in Christ before the
foundation of the world to be holy and
blameless before Him in love."
--- (Ephesians 1:4).
e date of the
Star's "teaser" picture
of the switchback,
published in last
Saturday's Weekend Magazine page, has now
been established to within a month or two. e
date was 1897 and the occasion was Queen
Victoria's 60th diamond jubilee.
Various other facts have been con rmed,
including the point that Mr William Arnott
built the switchback railway at the Grey
Main School of those days. ere was a fair
at the school where the business people had
stalls and a Queen Carnival was held to raise
funds for some local object. And the queen
of the carnival? Why, Mrs W F Harley (nee
Hambleton) who lives today in Cowper Street,
Persistent rain during the week and last
night has forced the Kumara Racing Club
to abandon its annual meeting which was to
have been held today. It is the intention of the
club to make a tentative application to the
Greymouth District Racing Committee for the
allocation of Saturday, February 22, as the date
for the meeting.
e club decided not to hold the meeting
next week in view of the fact that the majority
of mines and mills in the area start production
again for the year on Monday and that, from a
nancial angle, a mid-week meeting would not
be bene cial.
A number of road accidents occurred in
Greymouth last night but only one person
was admitted to hospital as a result. Shortly
after 6.30pm a truck travelling along Paroa
Road towards Greymouth hit a telegraph
pole and overturned. Its young driver, Richard
Mathieson, was admitted to hospital with
slight head injuries.
uToday s birthdays
uFood for thought
Printed and published by the
Greymouth Evening Star Co Limited
3 Werita Street, PO Box 3, Greymouth
03 769 7900 (o ce)
769 7913 (editorial)
768 6205 (fax)
Sports Editor Tui Bromley
Chief Reporter Laura Mills
03 769 7913
03 755 8422
The business case for the new
Greymouth Hospital was
released by the National
Health Board, to whom the
West Coast District Health
Board had submitted it in
e business case was based on a model
of care (plan for services) that senior
medical sta at Grey Hospital were
involved in developing, along with nurses
and allied health sta employed by the
West Coast DHB and our medical and
nursing counterparts in Christchurch,
as well as managers from both the
Canterbury and West Coast DHBs. e
discussions --- which happened over
four years, with disruption due to the
Christchurch earthquakes --- were frank,
often passionate and sometimes quite
It has been di cult for many years
for the West Coast to attract and keep
medical sta , both specialists and general
practitioners. I came to Greymouth in
1985 and the problems long preceded
my arrival. Similar problems attend
the recruitment and retention of
nurses, physiotherapists, radiographers,
occupational therapists and other allied
health sta .
In view of these long term issues
and the ageing senior medical sta at
Grey Hospital it was apparent that
serious consideration had to be given to
alternative ways of providing medical care
on the West Coast, hence these meetings
over the past four years.
In my view, the West Coast District
Health Board has been (and remains)
committed to providing a secure and good
quality medical service to the people of the
West Coast, and has been fully supportive
of these discussions over four years. Many
di erent options were explored, and the
business case submitted to the Ministry
of Health contained a model of care
that is the result of these meetings. e
model of care and service preferred option
recommended in the business case is fully
supported by my colleagues and myself,
even where we may have concerns over
However, I am disturbed by the
statement in the article on Monday,
January 6: " e ministry and the West
Coast DHB are currently exploring an
alternative option" as we explored all
conceivable alternatives (including no
hospital on the West Coast) over the
past four years and rejected almost all
as inherently unsafe. I remain rmly
convinced that my clinical colleagues,
both on the Coast and in Canterbury, are
not prepared to accept a downgrading of
locally delivered medical, surgical, mental
health, maternity and emergency care
agreed in the model of care and which
formed the basis of the business case.
It is more expensive to provide health
services on the West Coast than elsewhere
in New Zealand, and Treasury have
long objected to this. However, a report
commissioned by the Ministry of Health
and West Coast DHB in 2007 (the
LECG report) concluded that the most
cost-e ective option was the continuing
provision of acute specialist services by
West Coast-based specialists; I had hoped
that would have put to bed any proposals
to savagely cut services but obviously there
is no corporate memory in Government.
To deal with some details in Monday's
It is incorrect to say we have two
operating theatres; Grey Hospital has
four theatres and to reduce these to two
would catastrophically decrease (indeed
would probably remove entirely) the
ability to perform many elective surgical
or orthopaedic procedures, such as joint
replacements. No such reduction was
contained in our model of care, which
proposed that specialist obstetrics,
anaesthesia, surgery and medicine remain
on the Coast in addition to continuing
major orthopaedic operations.
It was proposed that specialists
should be supported by Rural Health
Practitioners (specialists in rural
health delivery) to ease the on-call
commitments of specialists. We felt this
was a safe option, but the article suggests
the proposal is to reduce the level of care
for West Coasters.
Similarly, reducing bed numbers is
fraught with danger. ere is a "critical
mass" of beds and if numbers are reduced
too low it becomes impossible to support
basic health ser vices and the whole
system falls apart. Specialists need to
see an adequate number of patients to
maintain their expertise (and hence
continue to provide safe care) and if they
feel that they are not able to provide safe
care they will not consider working on
Transferring an increased number of
patients to Christchurch for treatment
which is currently provided on the West
Coast (and which could safely continue
to be provided) is expensive, inconvenient
for patients (and their families), and
potentially fatal if this option means
that adequate emergency specialist
services can not be maintained on the
West Coast. My clinical colleagues
and I explored this as an option in our
discussions over the last four years and it
was agreed with our Canterbury specialist
colleagues that such a service would
seriously tax the capacity of Christchurch
Hospital and was inherently unsafe.
It makes one wonder just how many
avoidable deaths of West Coasters the
Ministry of Health is prepared to accept.
Experience from the United Kingdom
(where I was involved in a hospital
rebuild at Hexham, in Northumberland)
is that clinicians know pretty accurately
how many beds are needed at a facility,
and this was generally overruled by the
funders --- with expensive consequences.
At Hexham, we reckoned we needed
127 beds; we were given 99 ("take it,
or no new hospital"). Within two years
it was necessary to add a 27-bed ward
as bed numbers provided were grossly
inadequate. Over ow of patients when
the hospital was full resulted in transfer
of patients 30km to North Tyneside or
60km to Ashington.
In Greymouth, if we do not have
enough beds it will be 250km to
Christchurch (further to Nelson or
Timaru, or the North Island) with all the
attendant transfer problems. We have to
get it right rst time.
e report notes that 10.4% of patients
who needed to be own to Christchurch
in 2011 could not be transferred because
of weather or non-availability of an
aircraft. If the proposal is to transfer
substantially more patients (which is
emphatically not the preferred option
in the business case) then we can expect
many more delayed transfers and which
may result in serious harm to, or death, of
West Coast patients.
I am most concerned that the model
of care which was agreed on by senior
clinicians in the West Coast DHB, and
which formed the basis of the preferred
option in the business case, appears to be
at risk. is model of care is innovative
and represents a signi cant variation from
some of the historical ways of providing
services on the Coast. For example,
we have already developed a highly
successful model of care for paediatrics,
which involves local practitioners as well
as a Christchurch-based paediatrician,
supported by highly innovative
telemedicine technology. is has
signi cantly increased access to the service
for children all over the West Coast.
I believe that my colleagues in
Greymouth and Christchurch who
laboured over this model of care will
be distressed by the process that now
appears to be playing out. It is also
di cult to conceive that the West
Coast DHB, which has supported the
deliberation of clinicians over the last
four years, could be comfortable with
"exploring an alternative option" with the
Health Ministry without the engagement
and support of its clinicians.
ose who recall my letters in the
1990s may be surprised at my support
for the DHB. However, even then
my attack was on the (then) National
government's health reforms and
the threat they posed to the public
health system that New Zealand has
every right to be proud of. It appears
that the health system is again under
attack from the Government and the
Ministry of Health, with potentially dire
consequences for the West Coast and
indeed the whole of New Zealand.
Local clinicians participated in
the development of a model of care
which was felt to be appropriate
and sustainable. It appears that the
Government is choosing to overrule the
deliberations of local experts, with the
potential for serious harm to Coasters.
If the profound concerns I have set out
in this article are unfounded, it would be
timely for the ministry and the minister
to allay these fears.
Saving our hospital
DR PAUL HOLT has worked at Grey Base Hospital for almost 30 years. For the past four years he and
other senior doctors have been involved in frank discussions with the West Coast District Health Board
about the new hospital. Now, despite the agreement hammered out, it appears from documents released to
the Greymouth Star under the O cial Information Act that the DHB and Ministry of Health are exploring
"another option" for the new hospital. Here, Dr Holt asks the ministry or the minister for a 'please explain'.
Beeches ablaze with the mistletoe's cheer,
Happy to herald a baby so dear.
Mistletoe's kisses with loving embrace,
Welcomes the Saviour to our human race.
Tekauka dressed like a bride for her day,
Waiting the Bridegroom to steal her away,
Deck you with nery, ready and wait Jesus
the Bridegroom is here at the gate.
Douse you with perfume of manuka sweet,
Ready the Bridegroom sincerely to greet.
Odours of bushland and scent of the eld,
Now to the Bridegroom let the gate yield.
Mistletoe mingling with Tekauka's bloom,
Scent of manuka wafts up to the groom,
Love from the chaste bride see it arise,
To Jesus the object Of her glad eyes.
Deck then the church with the mistletoe red,
Lace it with branches from Tekauka's head.
Sprinkle with perfume from manuka's bloom,
Oh what a welcome for Heaven's
Deck all the aisles and each polished wood
Make the High Altar a glorious view,
Manuka incense to Heaven ascend,
With the choir's praises there let it blend.
Christmas is a lovely time of the
year so I know you will excuse me for
wanting to extend it a little longer into
the new year especially the lovely parts
we enjoy and nd worthwhile.Ti kouka
(cabbage tree) has bloomed profusely
this season. Down south they considered
it a sign of a long hot dry summer.
I always associate mistletoe with
Christmas because at about that time
my dad often brought home a sprig or
two from his excursions into the bush
looking for that rich seam of gold that
would bring wealth to him and the
family. He did not nd his El Dorado
but he did bring home a rich love for the
Christmas reminds us of the coming
into this world of the Saviour. His
presence if we invite Him brings true
riches and real love and a ection, not
just that cheeky kiss stolen from under
Reefton Union Church.
As the 100th anniversary of the Great
War looms, we could re ect that among
the many ways this seismic event changed
the world --- it changed car manufacturing
e war knocked France o its perch as
the world's pre-eminent car manufacturer.
In 1914, Paris was the motor city of the
day. ere were 600 car manufacturers
in France and 150 di erent makes; not
just the emerging giants of Peugeot
and Renault, but long-forgotten ones
like Berliet and Delaunay-Belleville.
Delaunay-Belleville, which operated from
what is now the high-immigration suburb
of Saint-Denis, made limousines for Tsar
Nicholas of Russia.
e BBC says France was the world's
biggest exporter of cars, and there was
pride, but no great surprise, when the
racing driver Jules Goux won the 1913
Indianapolis 500 --- in a Peugeot.
In fact, until the Great War, France
led the way in almost every eld of
technology. For example, in the skies.
Bleriot crossed the Channel in 1908 and,
in 1913, the sportsman Roland Garros ---
killed in combat during the last month of
the war --- completed the rst crossing of
In cinema, invented of course, by the
Lumiere brothers two decades before,
France vied with the United States for rst
place in number of lms produced; more
than 1000 every year, made by names still
familiar today like Gaumont and Pathe.
However, although among the victors
of World War One, France was utterly
devastated by the trench warfare fought
against the Germans.
e war took 1.6 million French lives,
all but halted industrial production and
caused economic devastation.
ough Karl Benz of Germany is
credited with the 1885 invention of
the automobile (a French word by the
way), his rst horseless carriage was an
awkward tricycle powered by a single
cylinder engine, says historian Philippe
" e French who gave the automobile
its modern form --- engine in front,
followed by transmission of power to rear
wheels by means of longitudinal axle ---
and developed the suspension designs,
gearboxes, steering and braking systems
that made the modern car possible."
To this day, basic car types take their
names from French towns, or expressions.
Limousine, Sedan, Coupe and Cabriolet
are some examples.
Henry Ford may have had the Great War
to thank for perfecting mass manufacture
ahead of France.
But the French left
their stamp on US car
Detroit was given its name
by a Frenchman named
Cadillac, while the car
company started by three
boys from France --- the
Chevrolet brothers --- was
absorbed into General
Motors within 10 years.
Of course, the French
invented motor racing as
well. e rst Grand Prix
was staged on a circuit
made up of 103km of
closed public road near
Le Mans. Around the time of World War
One, French cars won America's most
prestigious race, the famed Indy 500.
So considering all the Gallic passion
and technical innovation that existed at
the beginning the 20th century, we can
only wonder ... where would most of our
cars have been built if --- in Sarajevo, on
June 28 1914 --- that assassin had missed
--- New Zealand Herald
Georges Boillot nearly reached 160kph in the
1914 Indianapolis 500, a year after Jules Goux won the
How World War One changed car manufacturing
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