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‘Phenomenally Successful’ Outreach Clinic The Shape Of Things To Come

An outreach clinic in Ōpōtiki has been labeled ‘phenomenally successful’ by organisers looking to reduce barriers to healthcare in the Eastern Bay of Plenty.

“One of the main aims of an outreach clinic such as this was to reduce the barriers to healthcare, improve patient access and subsequent health outcomes,” said Bay of Plenty District Health Board (BOPDHB) Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) Clinical Nurse Specialist Jeannie Bruning.

“After much planning and preparation, a phenomenally successful ENT clinic was held at Ōpōtiki Community Health Centre. The attendance to this first, predominantly paediatric, clinic was outstanding and there were many favorable comments from parents in relation to the convenience of the locally-based clinic.

“Clinic attendance was 100% with three patients having to reschedule for various reasons. 12 children were signed for much needed surgery. These children have already been assigned to a service theatre list to be completed in the near future.”

Two ENT Surgeons, the ENT Registrar and ENT Clinical Nurse Specialist travelled from Tauranga to Ōpōtiki to see patients at the clinic.

“The four members of the travelling ENT team could clearly see the needs and benefits at the completion of this initial outreach clinic,” said Jeannie. “Notably the emphasis on a successful working partnership is the ability to work together as a team for desirable patient outcomes.”

This ENT service delivery model between the Ōpōtiki Central Hub and BOPDHB has proven to be successful with a developed partnership established to enhance both access and health outcomes for the Ōpōtiki and the wider Eastern BOP community.

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BOPDHB CEO Pete Chandler said the outreach clinic was part of an approach which will be developed further in 2021.

“These fabulous developments are something we’ve been working towards over time as part of our commitment to improving equity and access to care across the Bay of Plenty in partnership with communities,” said Pete.

“I’d like to express my sincere thanks to everyone who has worked together to bring these next steps towards our vision of transforming the future of healthcare into being. We will be building this approach further during 2021 as we begin to work more closely with individual communities and in partnership with Iwi to advance improving wellbeing across the Bay.”

What is an outreach clinic?

An outreach clinic is an out-of-hospital clinic based in a primary care facility, with patients being reviewed by hospital doctors who would otherwise have been seen in a hospital outpatient department.

Initial planning for the clinic involved a round table meeting with the Ōpōtiki Medical Hub, consisting of representation of the three General practices (Church Street, Toi Ora Health and Whakatohea Health Centre), along with representatives from Eastern Bay Primary Health Alliance (EBPHA) and BOPDHB representatives.

“A productive meeting was held discussing the specific needs of this community and what was required to enable the setting up of an ENT outpatient clinic,” said Jeannie. “Already identified by our ENT team, and spoken of at the meeting by all parties, was how to better meet the needs and to improve paediatric ear health locally and further down the coast.

“The enthusiasm generated from this initial meeting was profound with the subsequent formation of a secondary/primary healthcare partnership with the Ōpōtiki Medical Hub and BOPDHB. Importantly after this meeting a tour was completed of the facility to identify appropriate clinic space for patients and clinicians and facilitation of equipment to be transported from Tauranga.”

A key factor to ensure good attendance at the clinic, held on Friday 13 November, involved GP notification of ENT clinic patient appointments. The GPs were instrumental in ensuring patient attendance by contacting their patients to confirm appointments and attendance.

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