Tide change for Waves

1 December 2012

Taranaki’s Waves youth health service is still seeking to re-open but its founding nurse practitioner Lou Roebuck is seeking a fresh start.

The youth health service, which has struggled for sustainable funding since opening five years ago, closed its doors in October after being unable to gain ongoing funding for its ‘youth one stop shop’ (YOSS) model of care.

Garth Clarricoats, the chair of Waves’ Taranaki Youth Health Trust, said it currently had a strategic plan out for consultation and was open to discussions with any potential providers of services committed to the trust’s wraparound holistic approach to youth health.

A year earlier, tensions between Waves, Midlands Health Network PHO (primary health organisation), and Taranaki District Health Board over the Waves model of care, clinical practice, and funding led to a mutual agreement for Waves to exit its health services contract with Midlands. Waves continued to offer youth health services for a further year while working on gaining Te Wana quality accreditation as a first step in seeking a new health services contract. It gained accreditation in nine months but ran out of funding before securing a new PHO contract.

Lou Roebuck says she remains committed to youth health but after putting “huge amounts of time and energy” into Waves – including two and a half years unpaid work and constant funding struggles – she now wanted to move on.

She was continuing to work with Family Planning, was being an NP locum for other YOSS around the country, and next year, she was looking at the possibility of working alongside a GP practice and gaining capitation funding for her own youth clients.

At the time of going to press, she was doing an NP locum at Rotorua YOSS, Rotovegas, and said working at a better resourced YOSS had brought home to her how under-resourced Waves had been.