Recent Media Releases included are:
3 December 2013 - New after-hours gives Horowhenua first-rate service
27 November 2013 - Horowhenua GPs revamp after-hours doctor service
To view older archived Media Releases, click here.
3 December 2013
New after-hours gives Horowhenua first-rate service
The Horowhenua Afterhours Clinic was officially opened last night, with many of those involved in delivering primary health care in the community on hand to help Otaki/Horowhenua MP Hon Nathan Guy cut the ribbon.
Central PHO Manager Joe Howells says the new Clinic, operating from the Horowhenua Health Centre in Levin, is the only place people need to go to see a doctor or nurse in Horowhenua after-hours.
“I want to give the biggest thanks to the GPs for coming out several times after a full day in their surgeries to meet up with us and work on how we could improve the after-hours in Horowhenua. The agreement reached will get a better result for everyone, but in particular will now give the community a first rate service, which will be clearly advertised. This has been a really collaborative effort on the part of the local GPs and the PHO team.”
Long-serving Horowhenua GP Dr Graham Irving says the new service has required considerable goodwill among the GPs, as it is much more convenient for them to work from their own surgeries.
“I think everyone recognises that a single after-hours centre, with set opening times, is much better from the patient’s perspective and saves patients the difficulty of identifying which practice is on call and what their working hours are. This is particularly relevant for visitors to the area.”
Otaki MP Hon Nathan Guy says it is great that there is now one central place for people to go to find a GP outside of normal working hours.
“I acknowledge that it has been frustrating for patients in the past to try and contact a doctor after hours, especially for our elderly residents and parents. They now have some reassurance.”
Mr Guy says there is potential for the St Johns Urgent Community Care (UCC) to work in collaboration with the after-hours Clinic next year.
“Ultimately it will mean fewer presentations to Palmerston North Hospital Emergency Department which is better for everyone. The hospital ED should be a last resort for people with a life threatening emergency.”
MidCentral DHB Senior Portfolio Manager Primary Care Craig Johnston said the Clinic’s location at the Horowhenua Health Centre reflected positively on the on-going development of the centre. “We always wanted it to include the after-hours service, and now it we have a really good service here. The hours and days covered compare very well for similar areas of New Zealand, and the proposed charges are lower than the New Zealand after hour’s fees average.” Mr Johnston says the DHB is also pleased with the new services now being delivered at the Centre.
Mr Johnston said, “It is simply not possible to have a clinic open 24 hours a day in the Horowhenua, the costs would be prohibitive for very small patient numbers in the area overnight. However between the new Horowhenua after hour’s service and City Doctors in Palmerston North, which takes the last patients at 10 pm, we now have coverage after hours as good as can be expected. The Healthline 0800 611 116 Nurse helpline and St John Ambulance emergency service are both available 24 hours a day seven days a week, and they provide the district with overnight back up”.
Mr Johnston says an ultrasound service had started one-day-a-week at the Health Centre, with potential to add further days over time, and work was being undertaken to redevelop the UCC service to improve it and make it more sustainable by linking it to the Health Centre.
The Horowhenua Afterhours Clinic is open for acute and urgent appointments from 5pm to 7.30pm weekdays and from 8am to 5.30pm weekends and public holidays. People can contact the Clinic on 06 368 1402 for an appointment (preferred) or ring their GP and the phone will divert to the Clinic. After hours fees apply, but children under the age of 6 remain free.
Click here to view Horowhenua Afterhours Clinic poster.
Return to top
27 November 2013
Horowhenua GPs revamp after-hours doctor service
Horowhenua is revamping its after-hours doctor services to make it better and easier for people to find and access a General Practitioner or Practice Nurse outside of normal working hours.
From Monday December 2 all the district’s doctors will contribute to the new Horowhenua Afterhours Clinic operating out of the Horowhenua Health Centre situated in Liverpool St, Levin. Project Manager Hannah Watson says the Clinic, for acute or urgent appointments, will take the mystery out of where the after-hours service is and the operating hours.
“The local GPs discussed various solutions and agreed that a centralised model is the best solution they can offer Horowhenua residents needing to see a doctor or nurse after hours. The upshot is everyone will know where and when they can find the Horowhenua Afterhours Clinic,” says Ms Watson.
The Clinic will operate every week night from 5pm to 7.30pm and from 8am to 5.30pm weekends and public holidays. People should phone in to make appointments but “walk ins” will also be accepted.
Horowhenua residents will continue to be able to use the national Healthline nurse advice service or travel to City Doctors in Palmerston North if they need to see a doctor when the Horowhenua after-hours service is closed. “As with most semi-rural districts the size of Horowhenua we simply can’t afford to run services to 10pm, so people do need to plan ahead as much as possible and get in to see the GP or Nurse when the after-hours clinic is open,” said Ms Watson. “What’s planned is a Horowhenua response to the local Horowhenua issues.”
Ms Watson says the after-hours service is a fee-paying service and, while the fees have been reduced on average, the cost to visit an after-hours doctor is more expensive than visiting a doctor during normal working hours. An additional DHB subsidy will allow the after-hours service to be free to children under six years of age.
At present, people need to go through Healthline to access after-hours care and speak to a nurse who assesses their situation. Only after a phone assessment will Healthline advise them which doctor is on duty and where they can be located.
“Some people have been frustrated by this and simply hung up on Healthline and driven around town looking for a doctor on duty or just headed straight to Palmerston North. We think the solution agreed by all the district’s doctors will make a huge difference and provide a much better service. During the hours the clinic is open the people phoning their Practice will be put straight through to the Afterhours clinic.”
The Te Waiora Team are assessing if they can provide some extended hours clinics for Foxton and Shannon next year.
Ms Watson says there is a possibility of further improvements over time. “We will review how the service is operating and seek continual improvements. For now, we are really pleased with what we are able to offer the community in time for the festive season and holiday period.”
The general practices involved include:
Queen Street Surgery East
Queen Street Surgery
Masonic Medical Centre
Horowhenua Community Practice
Tararua Medical Practice
Te Waiora (partnership of Foxton Family Health and Raukawa Iwi Medical Services (Te Runanga o Raukawa).
The Horowhenua Afterhours Clinic is supported by the Central PHO.
Return to top