Fifty years ago a group of doctors lead by Ian Forbes and his practice partner John Gower came up with an innovative idea to pool resources and create a medical clinic.
The result was Gresham Clinic - now Te Awamutu Medical Centre - and founding partner Dr Ian Forbes has been recognised with the naming of Forbes Casualty for the upgraded casualty unit.
On Saturday, April 17 partners, staff and guest gathered to bless and dedicate the unit - an event postponed from last year when the physical work was completed due to the pandemic.
Guests of honour were Ian and his wife Valerie's children Alexa, Cameron and Verity Forbes and grandson Nathan. Other family members 'attended' via Zoom.
Ian passed away in October 2016.
The concept of a clinical practice was unique in New Zealand in 1970, but in Te Awamutu most of the town's doctors united to form the new clinic. The concept was spearheaded by Ian and partner GPs were John Gower, Murray Sare, Wayne McGregor, Laurie Neil and Russell Falconer.
With funding secured the building was started and Gresham Clinic opened in 1972.
On the team with the six GPs were nurses, administrators and a physiotherapist. There was also a laboratory for taking blood samples and a dental practice.
It was an innovative model for delivering medical services.
By 1976 the clinic was expanded and a room for small operations was added and rooms for visiting specialists.
The next major upgrade came in 1994 when the casualty area was upgraded and a second office was created in the patient waiting area to make the process more efficient.
Current partner GP Dr Mary Ballantyne says over the years the Te Awamutu Medical Centre continued to be innovative - often driven by Ian.
She says it was also a collegial workplace for all staff and Ian truly believed that everyone had an important role in healthcare.
"Partners and staff share experiences, check on each other and help where they are needed," says Mary.
"This is beneficial and healthy for doctors, staff and patients."
The latest upgrade to Forbes Casualty involved a clever rearrangement of space in the casualty area to create an extra exam room, an isolation room if needed and a triage station to streamline the process.
Speaking on behalf of family, Alexa said her father would have approved of the latest innovations.
She said the family was pleased to see Ian's legacy being recognised.
"Dad loved the Te Awamutu community and wanted to make a difference," she said.
"He also liked inclusion and recognised everyone had a value that equated to better outcomes for patients."