Following the recent closure of the Community Based Assessment Centre on the Whanganui Hospital grounds, a COVID clinic has been set up in the Mauri Ora building.
The Mauri Ora building has a long history on the hospital campus and its most recent use has been as emergency temporary accommodation for whānau from out of town visiting whānau who are patients in hospital. Alternative arrangements have been made to continue to support whānau, while the use of the building has been kindly loaned by the Te Hau Ranga Ora team to support the community through this piece of COVID mahi for a while.
“In 1984, Mauri Ora housed Te Korimako, which was the first tangata whenua provider in Aotearoa to be funded by an Area Health Board to provide community health services, and in 1988 included a liaison service in the hospital to support patients and their whānau. I am pleased that the whare can be utilised during this time to support our community and health services providers, as we have not been able to use it for whānau overnight stay during COVID,” says Rowena Kui, Kaiuringi, General Manager Māori Health & Equity, Whanganui DHB.
The clinic will be known as Mauri Ora COVID Clinic and its purpose is to provide primary assessment and treatment pathways to COVID positive people, or to those with a suspicion of COVID who need further work-up and care advice. It is not there as a testing centre, but this may be necessary as part of the clinical assessment.
While most people with COVID are self-managing well, the clinic is supporting people who do not have a regular GP or where general practice teams are not available for their patients who need further in-person clinical assessment. The expectation for people who are enrolled with a general practice, is that they will continue to be seen by their GP in the first instance and only use this service if they are unable to access their practice or have been directed to the clinic by their practice.
Juanita Murphy, Operations Manager at the Whanganui Regional Health Network, highlighted the partnership approach to the establishment of the clinic. “The COVID clinic aims to support our general practice teams who are fronting the majority of the clinical COVID Care in the Community response thus far. It also aims to assist in reducing the exposure to the acute care facilities on the hospital campus, ED and WAM. The service is evidence of a partnership approach, supported by primary and secondary clinicians and other staff from the Whanganui DHB, Whanganui Accident and Medical, and Whanganui Regional Health Network.”
To access the Mauri Ora COVID Clinic, please come through the main entrance and follow the signage on the hospital grounds. The clinic is drive through, with allocated parking for those who need to make use of a consultation room. While drive through is preferred, it will be possible for those who do not have transport to walk in.
It does not replace the Emergency Department (ED) and for individuals with concerns around a potentially life-threatening emergency, irrespective of COVID, they should go directly to the ED for immediate care.
The response so far had been pleasing, following a soft launch last week.
“The clinic opened last week and has had a small number of patients through, and sits alongside a number of other initiatives to support our collective COVID Care in the Community response. We will continue with this collective support until we are over the worst of it and the need is no longer there,” says Ian Murphy, Chief Medical Officer, Whanganui DHB
Hours of operation are dependent on community case numbers, but will provide some afterhours support, seven-days a week as a minimum. The clinic will initially be operating Monday to Friday, 4pm to 9pm and Saturday and Sunday, 8am to 4.30pm.
For further comment please contact Whanganui Regional Health Network, Communications & Technology Coordinator, Karen Veldhoen on (06) 348 0109 extn 708