Lakes PrimeCare says it's committed to providing a solution for a free after-hours service for children despite not yet coming to an agreement with the Lakes District Health Board.
Yesterday, the DHB announced it had opened an interim free after-hours clinic for children aged 6 to 12 at Rotorua Hospital's emergency department, after negotiations with Lakes PrimeCare fell through.
Lakes PrimeCare acting chairman Dr Ron Vail said they were disappointed a solution wasn't found before July 1, when government funding kicked in.
"However, sometimes complex problems need complex solutions and these take time to develop in order to deliver the best possible service," he said.
"Lakes PrimeCare remains committed to working with Lakes District Health Board and Rotorua Area Primary Health Services to provide a solution for a free under 13 after-hours service."
The DHB made the decision to provide an interim clinic at a meeting in Taupo on Friday.
"Our approach is to put the patient at the centre," board chairman Deryck Shaw said.
"We think it's an important area. We've a lot of people in our community who are vulnerable and the most vulnerable are young.
"We don't want people to make decisions based on whether they can or can't afford to [get healthcare].
"We'd like a longer term solution, but this is better than nothing. We want to do the best we can for the community."
The interim service will initially be part of the normal emergency department (ED) with existing staff until the board can gauge the level and type of demand, said board spokeswoman Sue Wilkie.
"Some additional nursing support is being rostered in ED to help with the management and care of these patients," she said. "After the interim service has been running for some weeks we will look at what further allocation of staffing might be needed.
"Lakes DHB notes that, as a long-term measure, it is probably not appropriate to be delivering primary care from an emergency department."
The board "strongly encourages" families to attend their GP during daytime hours where the service for children up to the age of 12 years is free, she said.
"This approach also helps build continuity of care with the family's GP."