Hundreds of drive-through mobile medical clinics are planned by 2020 in an ambitious bid to make healthcare "as accessible as Uber".

It's the goal of Auckland University of Technology Māori entrepreneur in residence and founder of The Moko Foundation, Dr Lance O'Sullivan.

O'Sullivan said he came up with the idea just two weeks ago. He travelled to China to buy his first clinic, and announced his plans last night at an AUT public lecture.

"I'll be guaranteeing that our ability to deliver healthcare will be as swift as getting a Happy Meal," he said.

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"This is a game-changer for thousands of Kiwis who need medical support. Not only is this initiative a first for New Zealand, but a first for the world."

He hopes to have 200 clinics throughout the country by 2020. He expects to launch the first in Rotorua in September, followed by a second clinic in Kaitaia in November.

Westmere general practitioner John Cameron said the results would be interesting.

"One of the big problems we have with healthcare is access ... drive-throughs: good idea, let's try something different, see how it flies. Anything that's going to shake the tree ... yeah good on [O'Sullivan]."

O'Sullivan said the idea was to break down the most common barriers for visiting a medical clinic — which were cost and time.

"Instead of taking two hours out of your day, you could be seen within 20 minutes at your own convenience — and it will be much cheaper."

Former Kiwibank New Zealander of the year, Dr Lance O'Sullivan says his plan would make healthcare
Former Kiwibank New Zealander of the year, Dr Lance O'Sullivan says his plan would make healthcare "as accessible as Uber". Photo / Jason Oxenham

Each clinic would have two drive-through windows and people would also have the ability to go into a clinical room if needed or preferred. They would be run by a mixture of nurses and healthcare assistants providing 96 per cent of the care a GP offered, O'Sullivan said.

He has purchased the clinic planned for Rotorua himself but hopes to establish partnerships with community groups throughout the country to help fund the rest.

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The focus would be on high health needs in areas where services were unable to meet demand.

Association of Salaried Medical Specialists (ASMS) executive director Ian Powell praised O'Sullivan's initiative as there was plenty of need to fill.

"It's a very noble aspiration and good luck to him. It will, however, require a massive financial and logistical commitment that I'm sure will be very challenging."

Powell, who last week slammed Health Minister David Clark for failing to address the country's massive shortage of medical specialists, said it shouldn't come down to the work of O'Sullivan and others.

Dr Lance O'Sullivan, AUT Māori Entrepreneur in Residence and founder of The Moko Foundation reveals plans to launch 200 mobile
Dr Lance O'Sullivan, AUT Māori Entrepreneur in Residence and founder of The Moko Foundation reveals plans to launch 200 mobile "drive-through" clinics. Photo / File

"This is the job of the district health boards and right now we have a failing system that isn't meeting those needs," Powell said.

Hapai Te Hauora Māori Public Health chief executive Selah Hart welcomed the idea. "I think this would be a great way to solve issues that our whānau are presenting with from a medical perspective, but also this will be a great leadership initiative to partner up from a public health perspective," she said.

"It could be a great way to enhance education about some of these diseases before they actually start so people can understand the risks and their options."

The Herald sought comment from the Ministry of Health but did not get a response before deadline.

O'Sullivan created New Zealand's first digital health programme, iMOKO, which delivers healthcare to children across the country.

In the past, the outspoken doctor has been vocal about the importance of immunisation — disrupting a screening of a controversial anti-vaxx film. He has also spoken about entering politics, saying it was the best way to bring about social change he wanted to see.

O'Sullivan expected backlash over his latest plans.

"I'm not doing my job properly if I'm not getting any backlash," O'Sullivan told the Herald.