GPs join forces for Vic­tory com­mu­nity

The Leader (Nelson) - - WHAT’S ON - SA­MAN­THA GEE

Four Nelson doc­tors are join­ing forces to cre­ate a new med­i­cal cen­tre with strong links to its com­mu­nity in cen­tral Nelson.

From Septem­ber 1, Har­ri­son Moore Med­i­cal in Natalie St will be­come Toi Toi Med­i­cal.

The new prac­tice is fo­cused on a com­mu­nity ap­proach to health and would work closely with Vic­tory Square Phar­macy and the Vic­tory Com­mu­nity Cen­tre.

Dr Debs Har­ri­son said she bought the prac­tice from a re­tir­ing GP seven years ago. It’s ex­pan­sion was a chance for the prac­tice to fur­ther in­te­grate with other health ser­vices.

‘‘We place enor­mous value in link­ing in with other ser­vices in our com­mu­nity,’’ Har­ri­son said.

The four doc­tors brought a broad mix of skills to the prac­tice. Dr Ngaire Warner said she had an in­ter­est in refugee medicine, pal­lia­tive care and older peo­ple’s health while Dr Claire Thur­low came from a back­ground in sex­ual health and fam­ily plan­ning with a spe­cial in­ter­est in trans­gen­der medicine.

Dr Re­becca Vellup­pil­lai said she en­joyed the broad nature of gen­eral prac­tice and also had an in­ter­est in pae­di­atrics. While Har­ri­son had an in­ter­est in youth health and res­pi­ra­tory medicine.

Both Thur­low and Har­ri­son were also foren­sic ex­am­in­ers for the po­lice.

Warner said hav­ing an­other two GPs on board meant the prac- tice could of­fer more ap­point­ment times and en­rol more peo­ple.

While the prac­tice was lo­cated near town, Warner said it also had pa­tients from Golden Bay, Ta­paw­era and Marl­bor­ough.

She said they de­cided on the name Toi Toi Med­i­cal not just be­cause of its lo­ca­tion, but also be­cause in Maori the words meant to en­cour­age, in­spire and mo­ti­vate.

‘‘This is a per­fect fit for us, be­cause this is ex­actly what we aim to do in our gen­eral prac­tice,’’ Warner said.

Vic­tory Com­mu­nity Cen­tre nurse Rachel Thomas said there were high health needs in the Vic­tory com­mu­nity and a stronger connection be­tween GPs, phar­macy and the cen­tre would in­crease the so­cial sup­port.

The com­mu­nity cen­tre and phar­macy of­ten saw dif­fer­ent parts of the com­mu­nity as not ev­ery­one was en­rolled with a gen­eral prac­tice.

‘‘Some will en­gage with the phar­macy and not with the com­mu­nity cen­tre and vice versa but either way you need sup­port, you need the med­i­ca­tion and you need the GPs to pre­scribe,’’ Thomas said.

Vic­tory Square Phar­macy owner and phar­ma­cist Dee Magee said she had learnt that pa­tients wanted a re­la­tion­ship with their health provider, whether it was a nurse, doc­tor or phar­ma­cist.

She had spent nine years work­ing in the Vic­tory com­mu­nity and had made strong links with the com­mu­nity.

‘‘You get to know some­body and not just their health...that means you can care for them bet­ter be­cause you un­der­stand them.’’

‘‘Of­ten we see pa­tients more than any­body else be­cause they are com­ing to us reg­u­larly for med­i­ca­tion but maybe not see­ing the doc­tor for three to six months.’’

The phar­macy was soon to move across the road into a big­ger space with con­sul­ta­tion rooms so the phar­ma­cists could pro­vide ad­di­tional ser­vices, like pre­scrib­ing the con­tra­cep­tive pill.

Magee said the or­gan­i­sa­tions could act as eyes and ears for each other in the com­mu­nity to iden­tify health is­sues.

SA­MAN­THA GEE/ THE LEADER

The doc­tors from Toi Toi Med­i­cal. Ngaire Warner, left, Debs Har­ri­son, Claire Thur­low and Re­becca Vellup­pil­lai.

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