Veteran from all over the coast gathered together at Te Puia Hospital for a check up and a chat at the first Veterans Clinic. The initiative is a collaboration between Ngāti Porou Hauora, Veterans Affairs and Royal New Zealand Returned Services' Association to improve access to services for veterans living on the coast. A round-robin of services was set up so that each person who attended was able to have time with everyone, including a podiatrist, geriatrician, hearing specialist, rehabilitation specialist and a veterans affairs case manager. 13 veterans living on the Coast came on the day, some with whānau.
Janet Castell RSA District Support Advisor for the Wairarapa, East Coast, Hawkes bay District was part of the team running the Clinic on the day. She noted that “Getting all the health stuff sorted was great, but the nicest part was that it got a lot of chaps together and to just have a yarn. You could see how much they all enjoyed it. One of them commented that it was nice to be together for something other than a funeral.” The whole day was really successful and we had more numbers than expected. There are plans to try and run more clinics like this in the future and to expand the target group to reach more people. Janet is also in the process of setting up a network of regular information sessions for Veterans through the clinics.
Starting with Matakoa she plans to visit every second month to share information on what supports are available and help to link people up to the benefits they are eligible for. Recent changes in legislation mean that there are now more supports available, so we want to make sure whānau on the Coast have access to this.