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Maori Health Clinics

February 7, 2006

Maori Health Clinics Join Together To Provide Doctor Service

Three Tauranga Maori health providers have joined forces to provide a doctor service for their people.

Ngati Kahu (Bethlehem), Waipu (Matapihi) and Awanui (Matakana Island) Hauora have signed a memorandum of understanding to work together to enable a doctor to visit each of the hauora clinics on a weekly basis.

Chairman of Ngati Kahu Albert Knap says the memorandum signing was a historic event.

"This has never been done in this area. It makes sense for the hauora to join together to work with our own people. Yes, we are from three distinct areas, but if you went back two or three generations we're all the same people."

The three hauora have pledged to pool knowledge, skills and resources, starting with sharing a doctor service. The joint doctor service will greatly increase efficiencies and make the service more sustainable.

"Doctors Rayner Bernard and Murray Hay will work with the hauora to provide a regular and stable service," Knap says.

"We want to give our people a better quality of life and to do that we need to make sure the ground roots are properly sown.

"By portions of the community – such as hauora - tapping into each other, sharing skills and strengths I think we can move mountains."

Western Bay of Plenty Primary Health Organisation has been working closely with the hauora to bring the idea alive.

PHO general manager Roger Taylor says by working together the hauora can offer a viable and appropriate doctor service. It will also maximise the skills each hauora can bring and make them available for all.

"The nurses from the PHO Whanau Nursing Service will provide clinical support for the doctors. In doing so we are starting to see the different initiatives of the PHO coming together and working towards the goal of improving the health and wellbeing of the PHO's enrolled population," Taylor says.

As part of the Memorandum of Understanding the three hauora and PHO will work together on a special project to determine what would be required to see the long-term sustainability of doctor and nurse services.

ENDS


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