Palmerston North's newest health centre steers away from doctor-centric approach

Palmerston North's newest health centre steers away from doctor-centric approach

Health Hub project co-founders David Hill, centre, and Andrew Nolan, right, with Dr Ash Dahya, left, the clinical team mentor.

Palmerston North's newest health centre will take a collaborative approach to medical services that veers away from the doctors being the fount of all knowledge. 

The Health Hub, expected to open in March in the former Cinema Gold movie theatre in the Downtown shopping complex, would feature a clinical team designed to work with patients rather than offering the regular doctor-patient approach. 

Co-founder Andrew Nolan said doctors "don't know everything" so working closely with pharmacists, onsite specialists and nurses would improve the service staff could provide.

"We want to move away from the doctor being the hero. You see a clinical team with a doctor attached."

People would have a consultation with the medical professional best suited to their particular situation, Nolan said.

The $1.5-$2 million project was focused on not only clinical needs but social and behavioural factors too. It would also provide social services, including social workers. 

Dr Ash Dahya would mentor one of the centre's clinical teams.

Dahya has a practice on Vogel St but also wanted to be involved in the hub because of its innovative health care model, he said. 

"It's about growing the team. There is going to be more involvement." 

A doctor would not always be required to see a patient, Dahya said. 

Another positive of upskilling other medical professionals would be less burnout among doctors, he said. 

Consultations would be about 20 minutes per patient and would cost about $42. 

The Health Hub Project NZ is owned by private investors and a charitable trust, but government-subsidised services still applied.

Eventually the centre would deal with things like broken arms and other moderate injuries that needed immediate care. However, only people enrolled at the centre could be seen.

After a few delays, Nolan was confident the centre would open in early March.

Initially it was meant to open in May 2017, then September, then February, but paperwork, compliance issues and a shortage of vinyl flooring caused delays.

Article by Miri Schroeter (https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/health/100525257/Palmerston-Norths-newe...)