The Waiheke Oranga Urgent After-Hours Service celebrated the project launch on Sunday 5 January with a gathering and blessing at Oneroa Accident and Medical Centre.
Just before 9am staff from all three island medical centres gathered outside the main doors with representatives of the Piritahi Hau Ora Trust, Waiheke Health Trust, Pharmacy and St Johns Ambulance Services.
Mātua Pita and Claire Mahaki opened the celebration with a karakia, before leading everyone inside to bless each room ahead of the new use of the space.
“Under the new model, urgent care is now centralised in one location,” says project manager Jayme Kitiona. “It will see great benefits for the community.”
The project has been a long time in the making, says Jayme, and both trusts have worked together for three to four years to get it off the ground.
“The funds were approved three months ago by the Auckland District Health Board, and we have been really busy working to get it up and running,” she says.
Previous after-hours care alternated weekly between the medical centres in Oneroa and Ostend, where patients paid different fees depending on which local practice they were registered with.
The new service provided solely at Oneroa Accident and Medical Centre will extend clinic hours and standardise fees which it hopes will improve access for all patients.
“I think we have a good skeleton in place, so I think it will be a smooth transition,” Jayme says, “It will improve working conditions and won’t take long to iron out the kinks.” •
The first day of operation under the new scheme was Monday 6 January.
Visitors are welcome. Patients can drop-in inside clinic hours or call the 24 hour phone line 372 3111.
“Thanks to everyone who attended the launch and we look forward to getting the service underway for the community.”
• Jessie Dean