More than 30 wheelchairs belonging to Hawke’s Bay Fallen Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital are currently missing, and believed to be out in the community.
The situation is so serious that HBDHB Patient Care Support Services Manager Sally Robertshawe has declared a wheelchair amnesty to encourage people to return them.
“This reflects 50 percent of our fleet of hospital wheelchairs,” she said. “Many sick and elderly people come to the hospital and need a wheelchair, and we also need wheelchairs to move our admitted patients to appointments around the hospital. With our stock numbers decreasing we are, at times, struggling to meet the need, or taking significant time to find a wheelchair that is free to use.
“I’m not talking about wheelchairs that have been loaned out by our equipment store. I’m talking about wheelchairs in the hospital which have been taken away from the main foyer, the Emergency Department, the Nurses’ Memorial Chapel, Villa 1 …
“Maybe the person had a use for them at the time, but keeping a wheelchair that you don’t need is only increasing stress on patients and staff - creating a significant waste of our orderlies time. Therefore this wheelchair amnesty is a good time to return.”
Ms Robertshawe said there would be no questions asked when a hospital wheelchair was returned to the main entrance of Hawke’s Bay Fallen Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital, or one of Napier Health in Wellesley St, Central Hawke’s Bay Health Centre or Wairoa Health.
The district health board was also prepared to collect the wheelchairs, which cost between $800 and $1000, from private addresses.