The doc­tor will see you at the mo­tel

Central Leader - - NEWS - By ELE­SHA ED­MONDS

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.’’

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