Ohakune community will be well served by Raetihi's expanded medical practice
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25 February 2015
 
Concerns raised in Monday’s Wanganui Chronicle about the closure of Ohakune’s medical practice are unfounded and misleading, says Whanganui District Health Board (WDHB) chief executive Julie Patterson.
 
“Dr Jim Corbett of Waimarino Health Limited is planning to expand his Raetihi-based practice to meet the needs of both communities,” Mrs Patterson says. “And part of the wider plan includes having all Waimarino health services, including Ngati Rangi Health and Te Oranganui Iwi Health Services, work closely to identify vulnerable patients and ensuring that other high needs people within the community have access to good primary health care.
 
“It is Dr Corbett’s intention to provide a model of service for the Waimarino community which is sustainable well into the future – a model not too different to the work Taihape Health Limited has undertaken to support ongoing access to primary health care for the Waiouru community.
 
“Te Oranganui Iwi Health Authority has done a sterling job continuing with their model for as long as they have but unfortunately, general practices serving communities in rural areas face increasing difficulty trying to deliver safe services within their resources.”
 
Mrs Patterson says Dr Corbett is well placed to lead primary health services for the Waimarino district. Expanding his health team and working closely with other providers such as Ngati Rangi Health and the Waimarino Health Centre is a strength-based approach designed to ensure the Waimarino community’s service model is well connected.
 
Mrs Patterson is confident that Dr Corbett’s approach will highlight unmet need within the community and that collectively, the teams in place will consider how best to address any gap created by the closure.
 
“Whanganui Regional Health Network chief executive Judith McDonald and myself are aware that change can be unsettling and that the 11km distance between Ohakune and Raetihi may be an inconvenience for some people. However, we remind residents that there is a shopping shuttle that runs between the two communities and we are sure the medical practice will do their best to give people appointments to fit in with the shuttle’s arrival and departure times.”
 
Mrs Patterson says while it is correct that the WDHB was to have met with Ohakune mayor Don Cameron before Christmas to discuss a range items, regrettably the WDHB had to postpone due to some unforeseen commitments. An apology was given to Mr Cameron at the time. The meeting is in the process of being rescheduled.
 
Dempsey Buses provide a shuttle service between Ohakune and Raetihi (funded by Horizons) every second Tuesday. The 10-seater van leaves Raetihi at 10am, drops passengers off in Ohakune, drives back to Raetihi and returns to Ohakune at 12pm. The return trip costs $5 per person.