New Zealand's first Pop Up Medical Centre in Patea has seen up to 20 patients a day since opening two and a half weeks ago.

When the South Taranaki town lost their last doctor in June, local iwi Ngati Ruanui partnered with Kaitaia's Dr Lance O'Sullivan to bring his idea of a MaiHealth virtual medical centre to life at the Patea Maori Club.

"Around 130 people have registered for the service and 100 people have been referred for treatment," said MaiHealth national operations officer Trevor Beatson.

When patients visit the centre, they are greeted by a digital health deputy.


Rachel Rae is one of three deputies who send the patient information to the Cloud where someone will look at the health conditions, decide on treatment and if a prescription is required, a doctor can send it to the local pharmacist.

The service is intended for health conditions which may become serious if not treated.

"There have been sore throats, skin infections, colds and flu and dental conditions," said Mr Beatson.

"Some patients have come from as far as Manaia and we have even had one from Whanganui."

Mr Beatson said there have been two referrals for hospital admissions and several referrals to a dentist.

"It is going really well and we are hoping to have a number of new virtual centres opening soon.

"I can't tell you where yet but watch this space."

Ngati Ruanui kaiarataki Debbie Ngarewa-Packer said healthcare in many rural areas was sadly lacking and the iwi moved quickly to instigate the MaiHealth centre when they knew the town would be losing its GP.

On Wednesday (yesterday), the centre was gifted an automated external defibrillator by St John.

Director of Community Health Services for St John Sarah Manley said it was a way for St John to give back to communities.

"Obviously ambulances are important but St John do a lot of other things as well and we have recently gifted 50 AEDs to marae in the region."

The Patea MaiHealth clinic is open from 10am to 3pm Monday to Friday and there is a late night service on Thursdays.