Counties Manukau DHB visiting policy ‘uncaring’-Brown

The decision by Counties Manukau DHB (CMBDHB) to extend strict Covid-19 Level 2 restrictions on visitors at Middlemore Hospital until Monday 15 June, and then continue with restrictions that are barely any better, is unfair and uncaring on patients and their families who should have been given a say, says Simeon Brown, MP for Pakuranga.

 “In light of New Zealand’s move to Alert Level 1 and the removal of all restrictions on things like gatherings and physical distancing, you couldn’t be blamed for assuming the strict visitation policies at local hospitals would be lifted.”

 “This is apparently not how the CMDHB sees it, despite most other DHBs around the country significantly relaxing their visitation policies or removing them entirely.”

 “Following complaints from constituents in Pakuranga about continued obstacles to visiting friends and relatives in hospital, I wrote to the CMDHB asking for clarification on their policy.”

 “I was told that previous restrictions would remain in place until Monday 15 June, when a new policy would take effect that is only slightly less restrictive than what was imposed under lockdown.”

 “Why CMDHB wasn’t prepared for the move to Level 1 is beyond me, with other DHBs around the country having no trouble adapting quickly in the interests of their patients and their families.”

Pakuranga MP Simeon Brown

 “Delaying any change to visitation rights for another week seems more like an excuse to change their policy long-term, regardless of the needs of those in their care.”

 “The new policy would allow only two visitors at any one time per patient during normal visiting hours, and a Key Support Person from 8am-8pm but on compassionate grounds only, meaning when a patient may be at end of life.”

“This is quite simply a kick in the guts for many patients who have been suffering in hospital without the ability to receive visits from larger groups of family or friends, and frankly makes little sense in light of New Zealand’s success against Covid-19.”

 “The fair and common-sense move would be to follow the precedent set by other DHBs and return to pre-Covid visitation policies, allowing patients who have sacrificed for weeks and months to see more of their loved ones again.”

 “Any longer term changes to visiting policy should be made in consultation with the community.”

 “I urge CMDHB to reconsider their stance.”