Greater access to quality healthcare, a driver for new role

Increased community access to surgery, enabling Hawke’s Bay residents to enjoy a better quality of life, is a key driver for the newly appointed Surgical Director at Kaweka Health, Stephen Toynton.

Mr Toynton said that the $70 million world-class medical facility, with four operating theatres, currently under construction on Canning Road, Hastings, will help to ensure that local residents receive quality medical care significantly more quickly than they are able to at present.

“Currently there’s a drastic shortage in elective surgery provision in Hawke’s Bay, and the impact of this is that people are suffering unnecessarily on long waiting lists. Our aim is to give greater access to elective surgery by providing more operating facilities.

“This will help to ensure that patients  quickly  return to a more enjoyable and fulfilling life.

“We hope to work with Hawke’s Bay District Health Board in a very positive atmosphere to achieve this, and to help them to address the well-recognised problems of health equity for our Māori and Pasifika whānau here in Hawke’s Bay.”

Kaweka Health is set to open in May 2022, providing an additional 5000 elective operations a year to those already taking place in the region.

Mr Toynton, an ear, nose & throat (ENT) specialist, said that a world-wide recruitment drive for clinical staff is underway, with two new ENT specialists, Christian Slough and Christopher Kennel, relocating from overseas to work both at the public service at Hawke’s Bay Hospital and at Kaweka Health.

Mr Toynton’s current ENT colleagues, Mr Andrew Dowley and Mr Paul Mason, will also work at both locations.

Kaweka Health will also have surgeons from several other disciplines and a large team of anaesthetists.

“ENT is a great example of long-term under-resourcing in Hawke’s Bay. Currently there are just three of us in the region, so we’re certainly looking forward to being joined by two new colleagues.”

Mr Toynton said that to recruit the best specialists it is not enough to promote Hawke’s Bay as a highly desirable place to live, it is just as important to offer work in a modern medical facility with up to date equipment, enabling them to offer the highest standards of care.

“Hawke’s Bay is an amazing place to live, but we will also be promoting the facility as a great place to work, with world class technology and a culture of kindness and quality care.”

Mr Toynton emigrated from the United Kingdom eight years ago where he was previously involved in the development of a private surgical facility and a community care hospital.

“I’ve had input into the design and fit out of similar establishments in the UK. It’s beneficial for doctors to have input in the development of new facilities as we are the only ones that are involved in the entire treatment process, from the first referral, through surgery to post-operative care, and final discharge.”

Westside Healthcare managing director Dr Colin Hutchison said construction of stage one is progressing well.

As well as four operating theatres, the facility will have full pre-operative and recovery areas, including five overnight beds.  A second stage is also proposed with more details to be announced during 2021.

“It’s well known that there’s significant pressure on health services in Hawke’s Bay and we’re very proud that local medical practitioners, local investors, and local design teams have joined forces to address the demand.”

“New Zealand has become a very attractive country for highly qualified specialists to relocate to and a new world-class elective surgery facility will ensure that Hawke’s Bay is able to attract and retain more specialist doctors, who can work across both the private and public sectors.

“We are very pleased to have Stephen Toynton join Kaweka Health to help lead us on this journey.” Dr Hutchison said.