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Whaiora meeting an urgent need

Whaiora is offering an urgent clinic, to combat a pre-Christmas surge.

The primary care medical centre in Masterton announced in early December that there were no GP appointments available until February 2023.

Whaiora general manager Triny Ruhe said they were offering a clinic in the days leading up to Christmas.

“This is a short-term clinic to help us in the meantime.

“We’re working to reduce pressure on nurse practitioners and GPs, and open the pipeline.”

She said demand tends to ramp up in the days before Christmas.

“We’re reminding people that if they’re about to run out of a script, don’t wait until the last minute. Make sure you book early.”

The urgent service was be provided in a mixture of ways, including Practice Plus with video or consultations, and also through Access Plus, for patients able to travel to Featherston.

To access an urgent service, call the clinic, and a team member will find the right option. The health service employed extra staff to help manage the urgent clinic.

Wellness clinics were also offered on Thursdays for basic health checks, which Ruhe said had been a success.

“We’re trying to work in different ways,” Ruhe said.

“Wairarapa is short of GPs, so we have to work in different
ways to relieve the pressure.

“All Wairarapa practices are actively recruiting, it’s something we’ve been doing for years but it’s a worldwide challenge.

“All practices are doing their very best. The main focus
is always on the whanau.”

The urgent clinic is just this week, but Ruhe said the team would discuss offering a similar service in the new year.

Masterton Medical recommended Practice Plus for its patients over the statutory holidays for Christmas and New Year.

Plunket’s helpline will also operate over the break for parents needing advice and peace of mind.

Registered nurse Makere Sargent is one of the many listening ears over the Christmas period to support parents and caregivers of children under 5.

Sargent said the team take calls on a whole raft of child issues.

“Day, night and in the wee hours of the morning – and we can advise when pepi or tamariki should see a GP or go to hospital as well.

“Sometimes it’s a reassuring ear the caller needs that pepi is okay.

“It’s really rewarding to be able to provide that support, especially if you can hear pepi settle during the course of the phone call.”

PlunketLine – a 24/7 helpline for parents of under 5s – received 99,000 phone calls last year and completed more than 1300 breastfeeding video conferences to help families needing support from a lactation consultant.

Sargent, a mother of six said caregivers should be prepared if going for long trips away.

“If you’re heading away from home, make sure you have a plan for where pepi will sleep and everything they need. Pack snacks for long trips and remember that comforting cuddly toy.

“Just being mindful of all those things can make a difference to how it goes in a new environment for under-fives.

“Wherever you go in New Zealand, PlunketLine is there too to support.”

The service isn’t limited to children enrolled at Plunket, and is free phone service.

Helen Holt
Helen Holt
Helen Holt is a reporter at the Wairarapa Times-Age and enjoys reporting on a variety of topics, regularly covering Wairarapa events, tourism, local businesses, and the occasional health story.

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