Tui Ora hopes to reach the northernmost parts of Taranaki by offering virtual consultations.
Tui Ora has received a $100,000 grant from the Department of Health and will be offering virtual consultations from his practice Waitara from Monday.
Healthcare provider Taranaki has refurbished its Domett St clinic in Waitara and installed digital technology with telelink capabilities, which allows whānau to participate in virtual consultations when they cannot meet in person or prefer to meet virtually.
Clinical director and general practitioner Dr Bernard Leuthart said the new facility had been in the works for more than a year.
“I’m really looking forward to being able to welcome to whānau from Waitara, Urenui, and even places a little further afield like Mōkau,” he said.
* Taranaki GP shortage has been building for 10-20 years and with Covid has become a ‘perfect storm’
*Virtual doctor’s appointment is an option as GP bookings are largely closed to new patients in Taranaki
“We hope to replicate as much as possible the services we offer at our Maratahu St site in New Plymouth, and would like to be able to have nurses based here four days a week.”
There is a shortage of GPs in Taranaki and very few practices are accepting new patients. And waiting for a routine appointment can sometimes take between three and four weeks.
Add to that Omicron and GPs in the area are struggling to keep up with demand.
Leuthart said Tui Ora’s new initiative will be able to offer face-to-face nursing clinics, as well as facilitating telelinked medical consultations, especially on days when there is no doctor on hand. square.
Several of Tui Ora’s current services will be able to expand their capacity and operate from the new site, including Taranaki Stop Smoking Service, Mama Pepe Hauora and Tiaki Ūkaipō Breastfeeding Service for new mothers.
Leuthart said they would initially hold off-site GP clinics on Tuesdays and Thursdays, with the possibility of extending this depending on staffing levels.
Whānau Ora General Manager Tam Ruakere said it was great to have an improved wharf where whānau have more options to engage.
”The pandemic has presented a series of challenges in our ability to connect with the community, so this is a great opportunity to reach out virtually and provide our services in a beautiful, refreshed space that whānau can visit.
The new site is based at 14 Domett St, Waitara and will reopen in whānau on Monday 4 April.