An urgent health care clinic, which will operate from 8am to 8pm, seven days a week, will open at the Rodney Surgical Centre in Warkworth within weeks.
The new facility will be operated by Wellsford-based primary care service Coast to Coast Health Care.
Coast to Coast director Dr Tim Malloy says the clinic will provide urgent medical assessment for people in the Mahurangi area who previously had to drive to the 24-hour clinic in Wellsford or North Shore Hospital.
It will be modelled on accident and medical clinics found in metropolitan areas that treat most complaints, but patients who require surgery will still need to go to North Shore Hospital.
The new clinic will have four consulting rooms and five cubicles, as well as a resuscitation unit with a two-bed observation room and x-ray unit.
Additional services will include a pharmacy, physiotherapy room, laboratory and machinery for laser treatment of veins.
Dr Malloy says the clinic is in response to a significant increase in demand at the Wellsford Medical Centre.
“About half of our urgent care patients from outside Wellsford are from the Warkworth area,” Dr Malloy says.
“We were at capacity at Wellsford within three years and wished we had built the centre double the size.”
The Wellsford urgent care clinic will remain the only 24-hour service between Auckland and Whangarei.
Dr Malloy says a second 24-hour service is not warranted as Warkworth has a full-time ambulance.
He says the new clinic in Warkworth will open sometime next month or in March, depending on how soon new doctors can be recruited.
“Recruiting doctors to rural areas is incredibly difficult. One of the requirements for doctors is to be able to work independently of hospital care and manage patients, and not everyone is willing to do that.”
Coast to Coast Health Care currently has 15 doctors working in clinics in Wellsford, Maungaturoto/Paparoa, Mangawhai, Matakana and Snells Beach.
While prices for urgent care at the new clinic are still to be determined, people will not need to be enrolled with Coast to Coast as their healthcare provider to receive treatment.
Dr Malloy adds the new hub has extra capacity and he is exploring introducing chemotherapy services.