Unique medical centre opens in Golden Bay
Hundreds gathered on a rainy Saturday for the opening of the new Golden Bay Integrated Family Health Centre, which is said to be the first of its kind in rural New Zealand.
The centre encompasses a full range of medical services from birthing through to elder care.
Chairperson of Golden Bay Community Health Te Hauora O Mohua Trust Chris Hill said the day had been ‘‘long dreamed of and thought of for many years’’.
She said the completion of the integrated family health centre was an ‘‘ extraordinary achievement’’ for the Golden Bay community.
Among many who had contributed to the health centre, Ms Hill paid tribute to trustee Jan Morgan who she said had been a ‘‘constant, strong and influential leader throughout the whole process.’’
She also praised the efforts of service director Rhoda McDonald for the ‘‘leadership and experience’’ she brought, and AC Builders for their ‘‘extraordinary’’ work.
Chris said the integrated centre fundraising team had ‘‘invited the community to be creative and generous’’ and the community had risen to the occasion.
‘‘The Grandnight out raised over $70,000 ... individual families have raised really significant amounts of money. People have given in a great range of ways,’’ she said.
Long-time advocate for the integrated health centre Dr Struan Clark said the years of work towards the opening of the integrated health centre had not always been easy, but he loved living in a community where people took care of each other.
‘‘I’ve always had a clear image of what the service would be and how it would work,’’ he said.
Hospital nurse manager Alexia Russell honoured Chris Hill as ‘‘one of the anchors of this project.’’
‘‘I think of the people who have donated money, time and vegetables . . . we can stand still for a moment in time today and reflect upon the strength of rural communities,’’ she said.
Nelson-Marlborough District Health Board chairwoman Jenny Black said: ‘‘You are pioneers.’’
Golden Bay Maori elder John Ward-Holmes said the idea to have all the health complexes under one roof was ‘‘awesome for the community of mohua’’.
Minister of Health Tony Ryall, who was ‘‘gutted’’ to have been kept from attending the opening of the centre by bad weather, said the centre was ‘‘truly unique’’ for its integration of all the services. He said Golden Bay was leading and the country was watching.
West Coast-based National MP Chris Auchinvole declared the Golden Bay Integrated Family Health Centre open on Mr Ryall’s behalf.
The opening date had been timed just days before yesterday’s transfer of residents from Joan Whiting Rest Home to the health centre.
Welcome home: Labour’s West Coast- Tamsan MP Damien O’Connor, left, and National MP Chris Auchinvole open the Golden Bay Integrated Family Health Centre.