The Thames Hospital summer clinic has proven to be a success, halving the number of patients needing to be treated within the Emergency Department during the holiday period.
The collaboration with local health provider Te Korowai Hauora o Hauraki to create a temporary GP clinic at the hospital site began on December 14, 2020, to cater for the influx of visitors to the Coromandel.
By January 8 the clinic had treated 296 of the 577 patients (51.2%) who had turned up at the ED, following triage which identified them as non-urgent. On one day, 80% of patients were able to be seen by the GPs and nurse practitioners at the clinic.
A further nine patients were redirected to the Thames Medical Centre.
Data from the clinic shows the longest wait to be seen by a GP was around 90 minutes, while the shortest was 0 minutes.
Aside from the clinical services, Te Korowai Hauora o Hauraki also had its whānau ora and Hinengaro (mental health services) on site.
The clinic has been so effective, the service is being extended while visitor numbers remain high over the summer months.
GPs from Te Korowai Hauora o Hauraki have been using the hospital's outpatient area Monday to Friday between 8am and 4.30pm with no appointment or enrolment needed.
The service is closed on weekends and statutory holidays.
Thames Hospital Acting Service Manager Katrina Fraser says the collaboration has been beneficial for patients and staff, particularly while demand has been high over the holiday period.
She says it's meant faster treatment and shorter waiting times for many patients who arrive at the Emergency Department.
"While the Emergency Department has seen very busy days, having the support of Te Korowai Hauora o Hauraki has been hugely appreciated by all staff.
"This has been a great illustration of health services working together for a common cause which is to ensure the wellbeing of our communities."
Te Korowai Hauora o Hauraki CEO Riana Manuel says the successful collaboration was the product of a can-do attitude and a willingness to try new ideas.
"It has been an incredibly busy time, but a fantastic example of what rural communities can do when we collaborate to bring services to not only our enrolled clients but those from all over Aotearoa," she says.
"The staff from both Te Korowai Hauora o Hauraki and Thames hospital were phenomenal during this time and a huge mihi goes to both for their massive efforts during some very busy days."