Minister opens new medical centre

Health Minister Dr David Clark at the official opening of the new Beachlands Medical Centre yesterday. Photo supplied

Health Minister Dr David Clark says the official opening of a new medical centre in Beachlands yesterday emphasises the vital role of Primary Care in the New Zealand health system.

Dr Clark said the new Beachlands Medical Centre demonstrates the value of keeping healthcare close to the people who use it.

Dr Clark grew up in the area, and he and his family were patients of the Beachlands practice.

“As a former patient in this practice, I benefitted from the care and expertise of the healthcare professionals who worked there,” he said.

“Now as Minister of Heath, it’s been my privilege to return to open a new facility which will benefit thousands of residents.”

Beachlands is a fast-growing area and the practice currently has an enrolled population of 5900 patients.

The Beachlands Medical Centre facility opened for business in August and represents the merger of two previous practices, Maraetai and Beachlands. The practice is a member of East Health Trust Primary Health Organisation and has eight GPs, eight practice nurses, four receptionists and a practice manager.

“The practice has been proactive in anticipating future demand in the area. I want to praise the initiative of the current leaders of this practice for their foresight in taking out a new lease, and then to design and fit out premises around it.

“As a result of this forward thinking, today we see a state-of-the-art medical centre, pharmacy, physio practice, lab testing, specialist rooms, podiatrist, psychologist and soon a dentist, all in one place.

“It’s making it really easy for people to get to see the range of services they need to.”

Dr Clark also praised the role of Beachlands in being a pilot practice for several mental health initiatives with the Counties Manukau District Health Board.

It holds a monthly clinical meeting with a DHB psychiatrist and team, along with its own GPs and nurses. The DHB psychiatrist can also consult patients in practice rooms.

Additionally, Beachlands is part of a new CMDHB initiative with both Te Rawhiti (adult) and Whirinaki (child and adolescent) mental health nurses being in the practice to consult, advise and integrate care better alternate fortnights.

“Beachlands Medical Centre demonstrates the key role primary care plays in both physical and mental health,” Dr Clark said.