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Medical centre gears up to open

Aruni and Harsha Dias stand in front of Featherston’s new medical centre. PHOTO/ARTHUR HAWKES

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Featherston’s new medical centre will begin treating patients on Monday, with construction workers now applying the finishing touches to the interior.

The centre’s construction, on a site adjacent to the community centre, took about 12 months, and will replace the old centre on Clifford Square.

Practice manager Aruni Dias and Dr Harsha Dias have masterminded the project, and are looking forward to the new features it will provide the community.

“It’s really about providing a space for the services we need in Wairarapa, particularly in the south,” Aruni said.

“Because we own the centre together, with my husband being the clinical director, and me being the managing director, we know what the community really needs, and what they’ll benefit from.”

The new centre is called ‘Pae tu Mokai Featherston Medical’.

Dias said this modification of name represented a “new direction”, in line with their increased capacity for patients and patient services.

A large room is also provided for the Wairarapa District Health Board, which will be able to provide several services out of the Featherston centre, including Pathways addiction recovery, adolescent and children’s mental health services, and Te Hauora services.

Two nurse’s rooms will also mean that patients can be seen throughout the day by two dedicated nurses.

The new facility also has eight consultation rooms, more than double what they had at Clifford Square.

The centre will include a purpose-built procedure room, with a high-tech surgical light allowing for more precise skin excisions and skin cancer removals.

Adjoining this is a dedicated recovery room, where patients can rest in private after having a procedure done.

Dias said that, with the proximity to the community centre, with whom they share a car park, and the increased service provision, the new centre and surrounding area should be thought of as a “community hub”, specifically catering to Featherston and South Wairarapa, offering health, well-being and leisure.

“The things that the DHB are bringing; the addiction services, the adolescent and adult mental health services – those are really critical for us to locate closer to the community.

“People tend to go to their appointments when they can get to them easily – if you have to go to Masterton and you’re not well, it can be a real trip.

“The question was, what does Featherston need, and how can we bring that here?

“So it’s building specifically for what we need, for the services that we need.

“If you’ve got really good doctors, really good nurses, and a really good team, that’s what is good for your patients.

“Being able to have more space and more rooms also means you can provide more services, and that’s what really improves patients’ outcomes.”

With South Wairarapa fast becoming one of Wellington’s most popular commuter areas, Featherston’s population is on the up.

Dias said that the new centre would cater to this increase, while still providing the best care.

“There’s definitely an element of future proofing.

“We didn’t build a massive building, we just built what we could afford at the moment, but it will certainly cater for some increased capacity.

“We’ll also be able to spend more time with the patients we’ve got, and offer them more services, so it’s not just an issue of patient numbers, but of the quality we can provide.”

Pae tu Mokai Featherston Medical will open its doors to patients on Monday.

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