5 Apr 2024

Primary health services buckle to financial, staffing pressures

From Nine To Noon, 9:05 am on 5 April 2024
Healthcare staff, doctors, nurse, working on laptop.

Photo: 123RF

General practices are buckling under financial pressure, with a large clinic in Tauranga shutting its doors, and the after-hours medical service in Invercargill at risk of closure.

Pāpāmoa Pines Medical Centre is closing its Domain Road site, which serves 6000 patients, as it cannot find enough staff to keep it running. Further south, the collective of GPs who pull extra shifts at Invercargill's after-hours service have thrown in the towel due to financial pressures.

Primary Health Organisation WellSouth has stepped in to keep it running for now, until a permanent solution can be found. WellSouth CEO Andrew Swanson-Dobbs says of the 77 clinics it supports across Southland and Otago, 28 have issued Clause 14 notices - a notification that the practice holds concerns it cannot perform the services it is contracted to do.

Kathryn Ryan speaks with Pāpāmoa Pines owner Dr Davitt Sheaha, WellSouth CEO Andrew Swanson-Dobbs, and Martin Hefford from Te Whatu Ora.