Clinic open and accepting patients

Renwick Medical Centre will open today, making it the first primary health care service in the town for 11 years.

GP Dr Buzz Burrell is at the helm of the surgery which has opened to patient enrolments.

Dr Burrell will work four days a week and the fifth day Dr Kristin Tucker will see patients.

For Dr Burrell, the project had been four years on drawing board.

"Renwick is a growing town with a population of 3000 and a school roll of 500. A town that size needed a primary health care centre."

Now he awaits his patients.

"If I can have 2000 patients in 12 months it will be viable enough for two doctors."

Given the location and the population he was confident the service would be viable.

He said the surgery would not be in competition for patients.

"At the moment Blenheim is still underdoctored. I suspected GPs in Blenheim will breathe a sigh of relief. Wairau Hospital emergency department is seeing so many [general practice] patients because people's own GP couldn't see them because they were so busy. Renwick will take the pressure off GPs."

The surgery, on High St, has been renovated and incorporates two examination rooms, a procedures room with double doors that open out into an ambulance bay, and a nurse's room.

"I hate doctors surgeries," Dr Burrell said. "I didn't want a surgery covered in anatomical pictures of the inside of the heart. What we have created is less intimidating," he said.

He is supported by Dr Tucker, two nurses, a practice manager and two administration staff.

Technology is at the forefront in the surgery. The practice will use patient management software which eliminates transcription error. It will link into the e-referral system where Dr Burrell can refer a patient to a hospital specialist with the click of a button.

From June the surgery's telehealth forum will go live and Dr Burrell will be able to video conference with other GPs for second opinions on tricky diagnoses.

From next month, patients on the anticoagulant drug Warfarin will be able to have their blood test and their weekly Warfarin dosage resolved immediately.

The Marlborough Express