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Long-serving Whaiora GP to leave practice

Local health provider Whaiora has confirmed Dr Pete Morrison has resigned from the practice “to take on a new role at another organisation”.

His last day with appointments will be May 16.

In a statement to the Times-Age, general manager Triny Ruhe said, “Whaiora extends its thanks and gratitude to Dr Morrison for his work in the community over the past years, and we wish him all the best in his next endeavour.”

Morrison has served in Wairarapa for the past 15 years, and worked in the region for another 15 years from 1989-2004.

“We continue to actively recruit for GPs and also work with a number of recruitment agencies to source talented kaimahi [staff] to join the team. Patients should continue to contact Whaiora to make an appointment; our friendly team will support you to be booked with the appropriate practitioner.”

Whaiora is one of seven practices within the Tū Ora Compass Health primary care network in Wairarapa.

One of four Tū Ora practices currently not accepting new patients, according to the practice map at tuora.org.nz, and which Tū Ora chief executive Justine Thorpe confirmed in a statement.

“Four of our seven practices in Wairarapa have closed books at this stage. One of the four practices has now begun working through their waitlisted patients to enrol them,” Thorpe said.

“Our Wairarapa practices continue to face challenges in recruiting staff, as well as an increasing population and higher acuity of patients. These challenges aren’t isolated to Wairarapa but are experienced across the motu [country].”

Concerning Whaiora, Thorpe said “Tū Ora continues to work closely” with the practice.

“All our practices in Wairarapa [will work] to support them with workforce pressures and waitlists; however, it would be inappropriate for us to comment on Whaiora’s business operations, as well as Dr Morrison’s situation.”

In response to questions about how Tū Ora is managing workforce and waitlist pressures, Thorpe said the network “is offering a range of services in Wairarapa to support our practices and population with accessing primary care”.

“This includes diversifying the workforce through our Health Care Home programme,” Thorpe said, “and the addition of health improvement practitioners, health coaches and clinical pharmacists to practices for patients who need to see a medical professional, but don’t need to see a doctor.”

Thorpe also highlighted Practice Plus, a New Zealand registered company established by Tū Ora Compass Health and Pinnacle Health Network to support local medical centres.

“Practice Plus continues to be available 9am to 10pm on weekdays, and 8am to 8pm at weekends and public holidays for those unenrolled, or unable to see their usual GP, for telehealth appointments with a clinician from the comfort of their own home. These teams also then support patients onto waitlists and enrolment when they’re able to.”

According to the Practice Plus website, an appointment costs $68 for ages 14 and over, $55 for ages 13 and under, or $19.50 for Community Service Card holders.

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