This month marks the one-year anniversary of the Ōpōtiki Medical Hub, a collaborative service provided by Church St Surgery, Toi Ora Health and Whakatōhea Health Centre. “We launched the same month we went into lock down and at that time, there was so much uncertainty and concern, partly because of COVID-19 but also because this was a new service offering and we didn’t know how it would go” explains Teina Hudson, Practice Manager at Whakatōhea Health Centre.
Fast forward one year and the Ōpōtiki Medical Hub is delivering tangible results for their community. Ngaire Lewis, Business Development Manager, Eastern Bay Primary Health Alliance said the Hub has treated over 845 patients and issued 465 scripts between March and December 2020. “We have seen a consistent reduction in avoidable hospital admissions each month and that is thanks to the efforts of this hard working and dedicated team.”
Supported by Whakatōhea Māori Trust Board, the Hub is a collaborative model, from governance to operations. At the governance level there are representatives from all three practices. The nurses work under a comprehensive range of standing orders and have access to an on-call GP. “This is a unique model” explains Lewis, “to have three practices collaborating and working together to deliver afterhours care is unheard of. It’s innovative and New Zealand is taking notice because it’s also a good example of iwi and healthcare providers partnering together to improve health outcomes for their people.”
“Thanks to the Hub, we’ve become a network of local health professionals and it’s a really co-operative, enjoyable working environment,” says Hudson. “Ōpōtiki Pharmacy have been on board from the beginning and they are very helpful.”
The Ōpōtiki Medical Hub is open every weekday from 5pm to 10pm and weekends and public holidays from 8am to 10pm. The service is free for nurse treatment. The Hub operates out of the Ōpōtiki Community Health Centre Building, entry at the After-Hours door. They can be contacted by phone 315 8500.