Cinema out - Health Hub in

The Tribune (NZ) - - YOUR PAPER, YOUR PLACE - NICHOLAS MCBRIDE

A group of Palmer­ston North doc­tors have put their money where their mouth is to ad­dress grow­ing dif­fi­cul­ties in ac­cess to medical care.

A new medical cen­tre, called the Health Hub Project, is tak­ing the place of the old Cinema Gold movie the­atre in Down­town on Broad­way.

Tak­ing no money from MidCen­tral DHB, the cen­tre is to be run by a char­i­ta­ble trust.

The project will cost an es­ti­mated $1.3 mil­lion to set up, with much of that com­ing from loans and from the founders them­selves.

‘‘We are not here to make bucks, we are here to look af­ter the com­mu­nity,’’ co-founder Dr Pat Nolan said.

Fel­low co-founder An­drew Nolan said the cen­tre had been three years in plan­ning. They were made aware of the va­cancy at Down­town and found it would be a per­fect fit.

The new clinic will house 15 con­sul­ta­tion rooms while also act­ing as a base for staff to go out into the com­mu­nity.

‘‘We are tak­ing health where peo­ple work and where peo­ple live,’’ Nolan said.

The new premises will be open from May 1.

Nolan said there would be chal­lenges to be up and run­ning by then, but the cen­tre would be open ‘‘one way or an­other’’.

The clinic needed to be open in time for win­ter, he said.

‘‘Win­ter was bad last year, it is go­ing to be worse this year. If peo­ple don’t get the care they need, they don’t get bet­ter by them­selves.’’

Con­sul­ta­tions will be avail­able in two weeks, op­er­at­ing from the cen­tre’s Down­town phar­macy, which is al­ready open.

Nolan said they would have the ca­pac­ity to serve 7000 pa­tients.

Con­sul­ta­tion charges would be com­pa­ra­ble to other GP clin­ics, but the ap­proach would be in­no­va­tive.

Co-founder Dr David Hill said the cen­tre would pro­vide so­cial ser­vices in ad­di­tion to medical ser­vices.

‘‘It is about work­ing to­gether with other providers to put wrap-around ser­vices around pa­tients.

‘‘The model [of health] is just not work­ing; we have to dis­rupt it, in a positive sense.’’

The cen­tre will work with High­bury’s Te Aroha Noa com­mu­nity ser­vice, and al­ready had a prac­tice op­er­at­ing at 174 Feather­ston St.

Health Hub Project co-founder An­drew Nolan, left, Te Aroha Noa’s Bruce Maden, with David Hill and Pat Nolan at the Down­town site.

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