Doctors merging under South Link Health roof

AMANDA PARKINSON
Last updated 05:00 03/12/2013

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Invercargill's Don St will soon be home to the city's largest multi-functional medical centre.

South Link Health Services recently bought five Invercargill-based general practices, has 50 per cent ownership in another and is looking to invest in at least one more.

The centre will house numerous doctors, take on 10,000 patients, and host 12 consulting rooms, a triage for the "walking wounded" and two procedure rooms.

South Link Health Services practice locality manager Professor Michael Tilyard said several practitioners would be able to take on more patients.

"Our aim is to have 1500 enrolled patients per doctor," he said.

The general practices had been unable to take new patients in recent years and had "closed their books".

The practices will merge from three locations along Don St into one multimillion-dollar facility.

The organisation confirmed Dr Terpstra, Dr McKercher, Dr Williams, Dr Foote and newly appointed Dr Monteith will move into the new building.

Discussions were still under way with Dr Rambukwelle & Associates, but the organisation hoped those four doctors would also move into the new centre.

South Link Health Services executive director Prof Murray Tilyard said the organisation would seek building consent from Invercargill City Council late this week.

"My ambition would be to occupy the premises by this time next year."

South Link Health Services is a not-for-profit organisation that supports general practices within the South Island.

Prof Tilyard said two new GPs had been recruited for the health centre.

Southern Public Health Organisation chief executive Ian Macara said it was a "very good" step for Invercargill.

"This centre will help integrate patients in primary and secondary care," he said.

He also believed this would help attract skilled practitioners to the area that have traditionally been less inclined to move into Invercargill.

Prof Tilyard said the new centre would sign onto the Invercargill After-Hours Care Service, but he could not confirm if GPs would offer free after-hours care to children under 6.

"We will obviously meet all the obligations from the ministry contract but the contract doesn't specify that," he said.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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