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Health lobby group seeks data from community

The Wānaka App

07 July 2024, 5:06 PM

Health lobby group seeks data from communityFocus groups will be held at Community Link on July 25. PHOTO: Wānaka App

Community-led advocacy group Health Action Wānaka (HAW) is conducting focus groups later this month to learn more about the health needs of the Upper Clutha community.

Focus group facilitator and HAW steering committee member Trish Fraser said there was little documented information about the community’s experience of accessing healthcare.

“To help us advocate for our community, we need more than just anecdotal evidence,” Trish said.

The Upper Clutha community’s situation is unique because unlike other towns in Queenstown Lakes and Central Otago, it does not have easy access to a publicly funded emergency department, she said.

It also has limited access to after-hours care. While an interim, nurse-led service is planned to begin in September, it will only be in place - at this stage - for 12 months.

“This leaves us very vulnerable and at risk of poor health outcomes due to our inequitable access to healthcare,” Trish said.

Focus group facilitator Trish Fraser says HAW needs more than anecdotal evidence for it to advocate for better health services in Wānaka. PHOTO: Supplied

HAW hopes locals will participate in focus groups coming up on July 25 which will help the group build more information.

Read more: Clear health goals the target for advocacy group

“By conducting focus groups and online surveys with community members and health practitioners, we plan to collect as much data as possible,” Trish said.

“We have also sourced data from Health New Zealand and we have a data analyst helping us to analyse the data and see what it tells us.”

Trish said anyone who lives in the Upper Clutha and has accessed healthcare services in the past 12 months is welcome to attend a focus group.

“This can include people with high-health needs, people over 65 years, people who care for the elderly or someone with a disability, community service card holders, Māori, parents of babies and young children, people living with a disability, migrant members of our community, and people who have experienced a medical emergency while living here,” she said.

She said HAW plans to share its findings with the community, as well as the Minister for Health, decision-makers at Health New Zealand, and other health system stakeholders.

The focus groups will take place on Thursday July 25, from 11am-1pm or 6.30pm-8.30pm, at Community Link, 34 McDougall Street.

Email [email protected] or call 0274 435 241 to register interest in attending.