The Tuhoe iwi is “basking in the afterglow” after opening its first GP clinic, in Taneatua in the Bay of Plenty.
Taneatua Medical Centre opened this month and, among the 200 guests, were local DHB and pharmacy representatives, iwi spokesperson Tamati Kruger says (>>nzdoctor.co.nz, ‘News’, 12 August).
The practice is taking enrolments and expects to attract at least 300 locals, says Mr Kruger, chair of Tuhoe Te Uru Taumatua Trust.
There are no plans for the practice to join any PHOs. Instead, it will be funded by the iwi after it successfully negotiated a Treaty of Waitangi settlement with the Crown (New Zealand Doctor, 9 April).
Previously, the area would receive fortnightly GP visits only for its isolated residents, Mr Kruger says.
“Rather than try and wrestle our way up the priority ladder, we decided to open our own clinic instead.”
Mr Kruger admits the iwi will not be able to sustain funding for the clinic and hopes the DHB will in future support the iwi’s vision. Talks have already begun.
The centre’s five medical staff, including a physician assistant from Alaska, work under GP Chris Morgan. Dr Morgan leaves in November and a replacement is being sought.
GP services are available three days a week, and cost enrolled patients $14 a visit. GP visits for under-sixes are free and patients over 60 pay a koha.
To read the original NZ Doctor news item, click here.
The clinic has five other staff offering budgeting and legal advice, midwifery services, asthma, CVD and diabetes advice, as well as family support.
Advice and guidance in establishing the clinic were provided by Raukura Hauora O Tainui Trust.
Raukura runs its own GP services in the Waikato region. It recently sold its south Auckland practices to East Tamaki Healthcare (>>nzdoctor.co.nz, ‘News’, 1 April).
The Taneatua clinic was expected to open in April but was delayed due to resource consent roadblocks, Mr Kruger says.
The $2 million renovation job included an ambulance bay and repairs to the road leading to the site.
A second Tuhoe GP clinic, in Waimoana, is planned by mid next year.