Integrated Family Health Centre OpeningHealth
It's great to be here.
And it’s a pleasure to officially open Lower Queen Street Health.
This is a significant event – not just because this is a new and innovative medical centre for Richmond - but also because Lower Queen Street Health represents a future of primary health care for New Zealanders.
When I am working in my electorate, or around the country holding public meetings or talking to people in the street, I hear stories that show where the public health service can improve further.
Too often patients find themselves admitted to hospitals because of a lack of alternative forms of care and support, or because their GP can’t help them with ready access to a hospital specialist or nurse, or to a vital diagnostic test.
Patients with chronic diseases like diabetes and heart disease are shuttling backwards and forwards from hospital to GP and back again.
Older people in residential care are turning up at emergency departments and GP clinics and seeing different clinicians every time.
And they have to repeat their health story over and over again. So of course things get forgotten or missed.
These are problems of poor co-ordination… a lack of clinical integration which eventually can lead to poor service, poorer outcomes and greater cost.
Unless we change the way we do things, this could get worse.
Health and healthcare are becoming more and more complex. This is a challenge for us here in New Zealand and for people across the globe.
Populations are getting older, so more people are more likely to have chronic illnesses like diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and asthma.
At the same time, science is advancing, it’s more expensive to employ health professionals, and the public quite rightly expects more from their health services.
They say the demand on our public health services are likely to double in the next ten years.
We certainly cannot double the size of our hospitals – or hospital workforce to cope.
We need to re-think the way that health care is delivered.
We all have to do more of what you have begun here.
Here you have just the sort of integrated primary care team of the future that will realise the Government's Better Sooner More Convenient health care policy.
Here – all under one roof - a patient can come in to consult with their GP – get a diagnostic test at the medical laboratory and then fill their prescriptions at the pharmacy.
They can also see a physiotherapist and use the gym and exercise rehab area. And there are audiology services and an optician on hand as well – patients can – for instance - get an ear clean from the ear nurse specialist before a hearing test.
And if it’s a specialist they need - there are specialists here too - in Ophthalmology, ENT (ear nose and throat), and paediatrics.
A patient may even be able to see a dentist here soon.
I congratulate the owners for seeing the need for such collaborative approach and then for using their considerable collective experience in medical centre development and commercial property to develop this centre.
Clinical leadership and integration is pivotal to the future delivery of patient-centred care and it is what is driving this centre.
The owners wanted to put their patients at the centre of everything – as it should be.
Patients can be quickly and conveniently connected to whichever health professional they need to see by their GP – and they'll be just down the corridor.
A centre such as this is also good for the health professionals.
They'll be working side by side – caring for the same patients and working together when a second opinion is required.
Patient centred care can also connect patients, carers and their families with the broad range of support they need from within health and the wider social services system.
Communities prefer to have access to GPs and specialist services in one place, a place where they feel comfortable and known.
This is the reality now for the people of Richmond.
There is even a café where people can sit down and have coffee in a friendly familiar environment before their appointments.
The owners wanted to provide comprehensive, convenient, quality health care to the people of Richmond.
They've been successfully providing that with the integrated partnership approach since July.
And I understand the feedback from patients and staff alike continues to be very positive.
Congratulations and well done.