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New GPs for Greytown Medical

Greytown Medical Centre GPs Rolando Perez, Arwen Mohr, operations manager Debrah Johns, and GP Don Simmers. PHOTO/ELI HILL

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The Greytown community can look forward to “much improved” access to medical services after two new doctors started at the Greytown Medical Centre.

General practitioners Rolando Perez and Arwen Mohr have started working at the centre in the last month and join fellow GP and clinical manager Don Simmers.

Perez is from Spain where he had been working as a GP since 2008.

Before that he worked in the United States where he assisted surgery.

He trained as a neurosurgeon.

Perez said the idea of moving to New Zealand came from one of his patients, a New Zealander, living in Spain.

“He was a very nice gentleman and he was always talking about this country and basically he convinced me that it was an ideal country because it was very safe, the people were very nice, and at that time it sounded like it was an ideal place to live.

“I called an agency in Madrid, they told me ‘well … we don’t have too much experience in New Zealand, but they do have some links with medical centres here’.”

Before Perez, and his young family arrived in the country he had never been to New Zealand so “everything was theory and dreams”.

“I thought well, maybe this is a nice opportunity to have a new life.”

Perez has found a place in Greytown close to the centre and started work five weeks ago.

“It is satisfying.

“I do keep talking about the weather, it is good but I’ve never been somewhere with the temperature so high, but it changes a lot.

“It’s windy, then it starts to rain. But it’s a lot of green and people are nice.”

Arwen Mohr who started on Monday last week arrived from the United States with her husband and two children.

“We came here for our honeymoon 10 years ago. We rented a campervan and travelled around the South Island.

“I’ve travelled in a lot of other countries but there was something about here – I wanted to live here.

“My husband had the same impression oddly enough and, on the aeroplane, there was a commercial about how they were looking for GPs.

“I’d never seen anything like it, and it got us both thinking.”

When she and her husband got home they started looking into New Zealand, but “it wasn’t time yet”.

“Four years ago we found Oregon which is probably the closest place to New Zealand that you will find in the United States.

“We moved there, but it still wasn’t small enough, and then we moved here a couple of weeks ago.”

Mohr said the transition from the United States had been really fun.

It’s been two and a half years since Greytown Medical Centre had its last female doctor.

“People should be comfortable and happy with their doctor and if people are more comfortable with a female doctor then they’re able to do that”, Mohr said.

The pair join GP Don Simmers who had been the sole doctor at the centre since July last year.

“It’s going to be great having three doctors.

“I don’t think the place has ever had three before and it means we can ensure we all have a good work-life balance,” Simmers said.

“And we’re thinking about Greytown’s growth which seems to be going through the roof a bit. The orchard development is coming along as well and that’s going to create a whole heap of work too so it’s kind of future proofing for the next little bit anyway.”

Operations manager Debrah Johns said it was important for the 3800 people the centre serves to be able to get good access to good healthcare on time and appropriately.

“The more services we can provide within the clinic means that people don’t have to travel and when people need to see a GP they need to see a GP.

“It’s going to be great to have that flexibility to be able to say yes we can see you, come on in.”

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