The doctor will see you at the motel
A doctors’ surgery severely damaged by fire has moved into a nearby motor inn.
Mt Albert’s Four Kauri Family Medical Centre in New North Rd was gutted by an early-morning fire on May 28.
The medical centre has now moved across the road to the Mt Albert Motor Inn, where it will operate until a decision is made on the future of the damaged building.
It has been a stressful few weeks for staff from the medical centre, who have transformed four of the motel’s units into consultation rooms, a nurses’ office, a reception area and a staffroom.
Dr Sarah Stewart, who works at the centre, says the move took longer than expected, with staff working long hours to get the centre’s computer system and phone lines working again.
‘‘We’re getting back to business and we feel we can do routine things now. It’s strange being in a motel, but it’s working very well.’’
Stewart says the centre had offers to use rooms at a nearby church and a recreation centre, but staff chose the motor inn due to its privacy and long-term availability.
Room seven serves as the reception area and the bedroom is now a consultation room. Next door is a nurses’ office which has been fitted with new curtains and screens to ensure the privacy of patients.
Stewart, who has worked at the surgery for 20 years, says the staff are adapting to the small space and are considering setting up a third consultation room.
‘‘It will make the flow for patients a bit better.’’
Reception staff have been working long hours organising and reassuring patients.
‘‘It’s actually been very hard for our receptionists, because every phone call they’ve had to explain what is happening,’’ Stewart says.
‘‘I think that’s been very stressful for them.’’
Fire investigator Russell Dickson says the blaze was caused by the surgery’s old air conditioning unit overheating. Dickson says the fire severely damaged the reception area but the back consulting rooms were not affected.
The fate of the damaged building will be known by the end of the month, Stewart says.
‘‘We’re wanting to reassure our patients that we’re very much using this opportunity to improve what wasn’t quite right with the old structure.’’
The surgery has served the Mt Albert community from the building for more than 60 years. Stewart says staff are grateful for the support and many kind sentiments they have received from their patients.
‘‘It means a lot, because we are trying hard to get everything working again.’’