Warkworth community comes to aid of patient transport shuttle | Te Whatu Ora - Te Tai Tokerau

Warkworth community comes to aid of patient transport shuttle

Warkworth community comes to aid of patient transport shuttle

Te Whatu Ora praises the kindness of the Warkworth community for coming to the aid of a patient transport shuttle stranded between floodwaters and landslips last Friday.

The shuttle’s driver Jeanette Schurgers and nine passengers who had attended specialist healthcare appointments in Auckland were returning to Whangārei in the late afternoon when the roads to the north and south became blocked by floodwaters, landslips and fallen trees.

They found themselves stranded in Warkworth, where the local community came to their aid.

Hato Hone St John welcomed them into their station, offered hot drinks and then phoned around their networks to find somewhere for Jeanette and the passengers to stay.

They were offered stretchers and mattresses from the local Scout den and other people offered blankets but, in the end, they didn’t need to use them because Warkworth Hospital, an aged care facility, invited them in for the night as they had some spare beds and reclining La-Z-Boy chairs.

Transport and Accommodation Manager Calvin de Boer praised the Warkworth community for their assistance and hospitality “for which we are extremely grateful” he said.

“And, our driver Jeanette also went above and beyond the call of duty, even staying up overnight to ensure our shuttle’s passengers were okay.”

On the Saturday morning, Calvin travelled down to Warkworth with another shuttle driver so that Jeannette did not need to drive back up to Whangārei Hospital having had only a couple of hours of sleep.

“Once Dome Valley re-opened after the slips had been cleared, we were able to get through. We arrived around 10am and the passengers were very quick to share their praise for Jeanette. As her manager, it certainly makes me proud.”

Calvin said that in the 19 years that the patient transport shuttle has run, an event like this has never happened  –  “99.99 percent of the time, the trips go really smoothly.”

The service operates every weekday, departing from Whangārei Hospital at 7am and leaving Auckland at 3pm for the return home. The service is available free of charge to anyone needing to attend a healthcare appointment in Auckland.

Most passengers are people travelling for radiotherapy sessions and other specialist hospital and health care appointments that are not available in Whangārei.

Another shuttle service operates out of Kaitaia Hospital, transporting people in the Far North who need to attend hospital appointments in Whangārei.

The Auckland and Kaitaia shuttles are a unique initiative in Te Tai Tokerau Northland in an effort to remove barriers and improving equity for those accessing healthcare outside of their hometown. 

Photo caption information:  Te Whatu Ora Patient Transport Shuttle driver Jeanette Schurgers



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