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Improved after hours medical services close

22 July 2005

Improved after hours medical services just a few days away for the people of Porirua and environs

It’s the end of an era in Porirua, and the dawning of a brand new era of after hours medical services.

It’s now just a matter of days before the new Accident & Medical Clinic (A&M) opens at Kenepuru Community Hospital in Porirua – at 8am on Monday 25 July.

Porirua After Hours Medical Centre (PAHMC), a service run by local GPs in Hartham Place, will close from that date, after 11 years of service. GPs and nurses from the PAHMC will now move into the new A&M, where they will work alongside hospital staff.

C&C DHB’s chief executive officer Margot Mains says the PAHMC did a great job, but the new era of co-operation between community and hospital services will greatly improve the delivery of after hours care for those living in, and around, Porirua, Tawa and Johnsonville.

The A&M will be open day and night, throughout the year. The current emergency clinic at Kenepuru Community Hospital was only open on weekdays between 8.30am and 4.30pm. The PAHMC recently reduced its opening hours and has been closing at 11.00pm.

The new A&M will also feature an increased range of services, allowing it to cater to a wider range of patients. Improved services will include x-ray, plastering, and observation beds that will allow patients to be monitored for an extended period. A medical assessment unit and child assessment unit will also be close at hand, and will work closely with the A&M.

“Those increased services will mean that fewer people will have to make the trip into Wellington in order to receive the treatment and care they need,” Margot Mains says. “It brings treatment closer to home for a much greater number of people.”

She says people who arrive at the A&M and are found to need the more specialised treatment only available at Wellington Hospital will receive expert care before transferring in to Wellington.

In a first for this region, the A&M will see local GPs and practice nurses working alongside hospital staff in the same facility. This model, which is being used successfully in some other parts of the country, draws together the expertise of community based medical professionals with that of hospital staff.

There will be no charge for people who come to the A&M needing hospital or emergency treatment. However a fee will apply for those who just need to see a GP.

“Those fees will be less than the amount people are currently paying to see a GP after hours, and the Board of C&C DHB is committed to reducing the cost of after-hours GP visits even further over time, across the whole district.

“The information we have shows that the charges for GP type care at the A&M will be between 10% and 50% lower than existing after hours charges in the area. I also want to emphasise that we will not refuse to treat people because they can’t pay,” Margot Mains says.

The new A&M is the first stage of redevelopment at Kenepuru Hospital. The A&M and Child Health Assessment Unit have been completed at a cost of $5 million, with an additional $260,000 included for new equipment.

The new main entrance, which sits beside the A&M, will also open on July 25, while a new Therapies area was opened last month.

The redevelopment at Kenepuru Community Hospital will continue with work to enlarge the Outpatients Department, refurbish Radiology and create an Education Centre, all due for completion later this year. The old Ward will be modified to accommodate the Assessment Treatment & Rehabilitation service which moves to Kenepuru from Newtown in late August. In November construction will begin on a new building for the Regional Psychogeriatric Service, along with additional beds in the maternity building.

ENDS

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