ADHB funds new service at Auckland City Mission
AUCKLAND DISTRICT HEALTH BOARD
13 August 2008
ADHB funds new primary health care service at Auckland City Mission
A new initiative between Auckland District Health Board (ADHB), Auckland Primary Health Organisation and Auckland City Mission will see new and improved health care services being offered to those using City Mission services.
At present Auckland City Mission provides a range of social services to marginalised Aucklanders including the homeless, elderly, families in crisis and people with dependencies.
But until recently its half day a week GP service meant that users of the City Mission, who often have high levels of physical and mental illness, were frequently being turned away due to high demand.
Recent funding from ADHB however has meant that the City Mission has been able to extend its GP service, which now operates for three days a week at the Mission’s Calder Clinic, named after the first City Missioner, Jasper Calder.
Deirdre Maxwell, Manager of Planning and Funding for Primary Health Organisations and Primary Care at ADHB says, “Those visiting Auckland City Mission often have extremely high health needs. With a client group of over 300 people, and only a half day GP service, there was a large amount of unmet need.
“Funding from ADHB was granted to this initiative as it was recognised that those using Auckland City Mission services are a priority population who would benefit from low cost services that are easily accessible”, she says.
“Over the next three years ADHB funding will help towards the set up of the new service and eventually it is hoped also to move towards the development of integrated nursing, dental and optometry services” says Deirdre.
This is something that Auckland City Mission GP, Dr Nikki Turner agrees with. ”Our clients have a huge range of unmet health needs from physical conditions such as untreated skin, respiratory and cardiovascular conditions to significant mental health, drug and alcohol conditions.
“Many have not had regular access to a GP, often due to cost barriers and the challenges of their living conditions. A quality, well integrated primary health care service operating within the City Mission is therefore capable of considerably improving the health of these people”, she adds.
Funding for the primary health care service comes at a time when the Auckland City Mission is in the development stages of a major onsite building project.
The building project titled “Mission in the City” will allow the City Mission to provide more comprehensive services including structured activities and supportive accommodation, as well as providing a dedicated space for the provision of the newly improved primary health care service.
Barbara Stevens, Chief Executive of Auckland PHO, who works with the City Mission to coordinate the primary health service, says “The funding from ADHB means that this project has considerable potential to address existing health inequalities.
“It is well documented that access to high quality primary healthcare is associated with better health outcomes, improved preventative care and reduction in hospitalisations” she adds.