The people of Patea will have access to regular doctors after Ngati Ruanui Holdings purchased the Patea Medical Centre.

The former owners of the centre — The Patea and District Community Medical Trust 2000 — struggled to locate a permanent doctor for the rural community since the last doctor left in June last year.

Ngati Ruanui Holdings chairwoman Debbie Ngarewa-Packer says the purchase is part of an overall economic investment strategy.

"We're investing in our people and the Patea community. This acquisition will provide health certainty and wellbeing for all residents of Patea."


She says a mixture of Ngati Ruanui doctors and locums will begin working in Patea, ensuring there is a permanent team of doctors providing back up and support.

"It also builds on our existing strategy of having a healthy, productive, innovative, export-orientated regional economy that will support better paying jobs and better quality of life.
"We're looking forward to providing a range of services in South Taranaki and bringing the services to the rural areas where they're needed."

Patea Medical Trust chairman Brett Honeyfield says the purchase is the best possible outcome for all parties.

"Now that we've found someone who wants to run a medical practice in Patea, we are confident this is going to be to the benefit of the community here."

The original trust formed to purchase the practice from a private GP in 1991, using community donations.

The trust spent the next nine years working voluntarily to keep doctors in the town and in 2000 a new charitable trust was formed and continued that work. In recent years the challenge to find and keep a GP in Patea has proven difficult.

Brett says the supervision requirements for overseas qualified practitioners excluded many good doctors, and the lack of back-up and support available to a sole-charge doctor in a small town was off-putting to potential candidates.

"This is where Ngati Ruanui taking over is of great benefit as they have the ability to provide that supervision and support."


Ngati Ruanui take over the centre on August 1.