Unique med­i­cal cen­tre opens in Golden Bay

The Leader (Tasman) - - NEWS - By CHAR­LOTTE SQUIRE

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.

Photo: CHAR­LOTTE SQUIRE

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.

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