This month South Taranaki's Rural General Practice (the Practice) celebrates a full year of operation in Hāwera.
Taranaki DHB chief operating officer Gillian Campbell says the Practice was implemented to meet the needs identified by the community, and support access to primary care services in South Taranaki.
"We are very proud of the new rural model of care we started last year. The team has worked extremely hard to achieve a high standard of service, enrolling over 2000 patients since opening the doors and extending hours five days a week to meet the demands of people needing access to urgent and planned health care."
Gillian says the DHB wants to ensure the service continues to deliver high-quality, responsive primary care that meets the needs of enrolled patients, and those who access the service casually.
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"The model of care is constantly evolving, and it is important the team has time to strengthen and continue developing the service. For these reasons the team has taken the difficult decision to reduce the pace of new enrolments for a short period of time and will be enrolling only people who do not have a doctor at all, are not within safe travelling distance to their GP, or are identified as having complex, high needs which are not being met by the practice team."
The Practice will continue to provide primary care services for casual patients and its own patients.
Dr Tom Dawson, who heads the Practice, acknowledges the amazing community support over the past year, but says challenges and uncertainty posed by Covid-19 mean they need to be ready to support people in the community whose health and wellbeing may be affected the most.
"The Practice team wants to thank the South Taranaki community for all their support and positive feedback over the past year. As we enter more-challenging times with Covid-19, the Practice has a pivotal role to support the community, and this includes being available to take on patients who do not currently have a doctor, or whose doctor is out of the region. We will continue to enrol these patients and look at those with the highest need."
• For more information on the Practice, including hours of service, please visit South Taranaki Rural Health General Practice • Healthpoint