Regional Women's Health Service Development Plan to be considered

15 November 2012
A development plan, released today, to support the implementation of the Regional Women’s Health Service (RWHS) between the Whanganui and MidCentral District Health Boards will be discussed at the next round of the boards’ statutory committee meetings.
The plan follows the boards’ decision in June to support the development of the RWHS with specialist services provided at Wanganui and Palmerston North Hospitals on a 24/7 basis.
It is envisaged that the implementation of a RWHS will have two phases. In the first phase, the development plan looks to bring together the two existing services as one under a single management, leadership and clinical governance structure.
The second phase is focused on continuous quality improvement. The service will progressively align policies and procedures to allow the service to work seamlessly across both DHBs. This will optimise service delivery and use of the available staff and facilities.
From a woman’s perspective accessing the service across the region, initially there will be little change to present arrangements for service delivery, and changes that occur will be positive, with more services provided closer to home wherever possible.
The plan is presented as a complete ‘package’, with plans in place to support service improvements to further strengthen the sustainability of the RWHS and to enhance clinical outcomes.
A one population, many communities approach is fundamental to the service model.  MidCentral Health will be contracted to provide the regional service with staff continuing to be employed by their DHB of domicile with the exception of leadership positions.
Additional positions have been confirmed to support the implementation and sustainability of the RWHS. This includes a newly established gynaecology clinical nurse specialist, other additional resources to cover the service’s expanded responsibilities and a fixed term (12-month) position for a ‘change manager’ which recognises the scale of change across the two sites and the complex operational systems and processes that need to be integrated.
Staff and stakeholder feedback on the original proposal was considered in respect to current maternity service delivery at Palmerston North Hospital. Areas for improvement have been identified, validated and confirmed as necessary.
Under the plan, regional service governance arrangements would be established immediately following board endorsement of the plan. And service leadership and change management support would be in place by 30 June 2013, along with detailed design of management and reporting systems, and referral, triage and surgical scheduling and management systems.
Click here for more information about the Regional Women's Health Service and the RWHS Development Plan