New health centre designed to revolutionise health system

Health Hub Project co-founder Andrew Nolan, left, Te Aroha Noa chief executive Bruce Maden, and fellow co-founders David ...
Nicholas McBride/Fairfax NZ

Health Hub Project co-founder Andrew Nolan, left, Te Aroha Noa chief executive Bruce Maden, and fellow co-founders David Hill and Pat Nolan at the new site at Downtown on Broadway.

A new health centre in Palmerston North is  designed to revolutionise the healthcare system.

The Health Hub Project is set to open in Downtown on Broadway Ave by the middle of the year, operating out of the former Cinema Gold premises.

It is now putting the call out for patients, with the capacity to take on 3000 people, and asking for financial backers to help support it, as it does not receive any funding from MidCentral District Health Board.

Co-founder Dr David Hill said the way the healthcare system worked was archaic.

READ MORE: Health Hub medical centre poised to take over empty Cinema Gold premises

"We are doing things our GP colleagues were doing 200 years ago."

Hill said the system needed revolutionising.

"It has got to happen quickly, because we are running out of doctors."

Hill said they were establishing the processes for how to make the hub work.

Centres needed to make better use of technology and look to other sources of funding.

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"We have to find some other way of getting that money."

Co-founder Andrew Nolan said a major obstacle to healthcare was simply access.

"We need to make sure it can be affordable for people who need to come in for multiple visits."

The centre was looking for philanthropic funding to help.

"We need people in Palmerston North to help provide for poor people."

An ageing population of doctors and the increasing number of retiring doctors meant there was a definite need for more health centres, Nolan said.

"There are not services in place to meet the demand of retiring doctors.

"The healthcare system cannot afford to keep operating the way it is."

Nolan said there were more ways for people to get sick than ever before and centres needed to cater to those changing needs.

That meant including social workers as part of their team.

"That is really important because a lot of the really ill patients with long-term conditions need to be linked up to other social services."

Social workers could help patients in ways doctors could not.

Nolan said those services would be available to everyone, "rather than just people who fit some kind of government means test".

The Hub would offer schemes to make it more affordable.

Construction on the centre was expected to get under way next month. 

Nolan said they hoped to be open from late May or early June.

The Hub is seeing patients out of the pop-up clinic in the pharmacy at Downtown.

In the meantime, people can enrol there or at The Hub's other site on Featherston St.

 - Stuff

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