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Rural Health Services Unaffected Despite Sale of Buildings

Media Statement
Friday 25 July 2014

Rural Health Services Unaffected Despite Sale of Buildings

Turanga Health’s general practice and rural health services will continue despite potential changes to who owns the Te Karaka and Matawai health buildings, says Turanga Health Chief Executive Reweti Ropiha.

“Changes in who owns the bricks and mortar do not necessitate any changes in the level of service we offer patients in Matawai and Te Karaka. Patients will still be able to see the doctor and the nurse in their own communities”.

Mr Ropiha’s comments came after an announcement from current building owners, Tairawhiti District Health, that it intends to sell the buildings Turanga Health currently operates out of. Since 2010 Turanga Health has rented a house on Rangatira Road, and the Waikohu Health Centre on Station Road in Te Karaka, from Tairawhiti District Health. Turanga Health has maintained the Rangatira Road house but no doctor has lived there since 2010. Turanga Health spent around $20,000 refurbishing the Waikohu Health Centre in 2011 creating more space for patient consultations, a smart welcoming waiting room and reception area, and better office and meeting space for health staff. Mr Ropiha said it was likely any new owner of the Waikohu Health Centre building would continue to want Turanga Health as tenants.

Mr Ropiha says Turanga Health is owned by local iwi and its services are community-based and patient-directed. “We are intertwined with the community and as a result influenced by the community. There is no change in everyone’s dedication to this service."

Turanga Health also rents a main road house in Matawai. There is no one currently living in the house. Once a week the visiting Waikohu Health Centre doctor, and or nurses, use the small clinic room on the roadside of the house to see patients. Mr Ropiha says more often now Piki Te Ora, Turanga Health’s state-of-the-art mobile clinic, is used to manage patient clinics. Cervical screening, influenza vaccination, and diabetes clinics are also done in the clinic which is known locally as ‘the bus’.

“The bus is a contemporary clinic which features all the technology and equipment you would expect to find in a static clinic. It’s warm, offers privacy for consultations, and is cleverly compact.” Mr Ropiha says there is no reason the bus couldn’t be used for the normal weekly rural clinics. There is also an opportunity for Turanga Health to invest in an existing community facility. “Turanga Health is interested to see if there is an appetite in the Matawai community for us to help add value to an existing setting”.


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