Clinic coping after fire
An emergency plan put into place after the country's largest medical centre was badly damaged by fire is running smoothly so far, says the health provider.
A fire broke out in the roof of Masterton Medical's Lincoln Rd building about 6.40pm on Tuesday night, leaving the nurses' station gutted by fire and GPs' rooms water-damaged.
Masterton Medical general manager Paul Cocks said it is likely to be months rather than weeks before the centre's 70 staff can move back into the building.
Since 1pm today Masterton Medical GPs have been seeing acute patients in the Work and Income building across the road, but have cancelled all routine appointments for the rest of the week.
Mr Cocks said those with urgent medical issues were being asked to go to Wairarapa Hospital, and those who were able to wait for medical attention were being asked to hold off until next week.
A Wairarapa Hospital spokeswoman said the incident had not caused an influx of patients to the emergency department.
The centre's marae-based clinic for Maori and Pacific Island patients was running as usual, but its hours would be extended.
Staff were looking at temporary accommodation to use until the Lincoln Rd building was up and running again, but Mr Cocks could not say yet where that might be and it could take a couple of weeks to arrange.
Mr Cocks said after some initial confusion this morning, patients were now aware of what was happening and everything was running smoothly.
''Patients in the community have been very kind to us, we've managed what's come through the door.''
It is thought patient records may have been spared in the fire, as fire crews salvaged the clinic's main computer server.
The private medical centre has 23,000 patients on its books and employs 17 GPs.
The Dominion Post