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Health centre decor highlights region's farm values

Palmerston North's newest health centre has a rural feel, with its corrugated iron walls and country backdrop.

The Health Hub, that opened in the Downtown shopping complex in March, looks more like a farm house than a typical medical centre.

Co-founder Andrew Nolan said he wanted it to fit in with Manawatū's rural values.

The centre had 14 consultation rooms and it wasn't laid out like typical medical centres, as it didn't have a waiting room, he said.

Instead, hosts would show people to a consultation room, where they would be seen by someone from a team of clinicians, Nolan said.

Clinical teams were designed to work with patients rather than offering the regular doctor-patient approach, he said.

People will have a consultation with the medical professional best suited to their situation.

"There's no such thing as a nurse [or doctor] appointment, there's a clinical team appointment."

More nurses, referred to as clinicians that were staff trained, and hosts were needed for the Health Hub, Nolan said.

Co-founder David Hill said people with retail, hospitality or flight-attendant experience would be suitable for host positions.

"They are the meeter and greeter. They've got to have that personality."

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

The Health Hub Project NZ is owned by private investors and a charitable trust, but it provides government-subsidised services. Consultations will be about 20 minutes a patient and will cost about $42.

Initially, the centre was meant to open in May 2017, then September, then February 2018, but paperwork, compliance problems and a shortage of vinyl flooring caused delays.

The doors opened in March 2018.

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