Cinema out - Health Hub in
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.