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Medical centre keeps it local

CARYN WIGMORE
Last updated 05:00 06/02/2014
GP Kumeu
PRACTITIONER PREPARES: Dr Phill Barter gets ready for surgery in the operating room of Kaipara Medical Centre.

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Community members now have a bigger say when it comes to healthcare in Helensville.

They own half of the Kaipara Medical Centre.

The centre's new board takes effect this month and includes representatives from the Helensville District Health Trust, Ngati Whatua, shareholding doctors and the Waitemata District Health Board.

The Helensville District Health Trust and Waitemata District Health Board worked together last year towards the new structure for the centre's staff, clients and stakeholders.

The Helensville District Health Trust, representing the community, owns 51 per cent of the shares in the business which pays rent to the trust.

The trust built and paid for the building in 2007 before buying the business last year.

Trust chairwoman Dianne Kidd says the trust has a long-standing relationship with Kaipara Medical Centre. It has been part of the health trust's vision to achieve community ownership for some time, she says.

"Local ownership and local decision-making was not happening.

"The health trust approached the previous owners and we were well received."

The centre is essential as it serves the whole of South Kaipara.

"There's no practice closer than Waimauku or Silverdale," she says.

The Commercial Rd campus includes the Helensville birthing centre, a women and family centre and midwifery services.

Practice manager John Issott says it serves as the "de facto" accident and emergency service for South Kaipara.

The birthing centre forms part of the strategic and emergency plan, he says.

"If there was a major disaster we would use that as a six-bed first aid station."

The centre also has a theatre for minor operations.

Mrs Kidd says the new initiative is an innovative way to secure 51 per cent equity in the facility for community ownership.

"The trust has a long-standing relationship with the Kaipara Medical Centre and it has been part of our vision to achieve community ownership for this important facility for some time."

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