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New medical centre for south

Featherston Medical’s practice manager Aruni Dias, left, talking with Featherston resident Anne Johnson about the new health centre, which will be built on the vacant land in front of them, beyond the car park at the Featherston Community Centre. PHOTO/HAYLEY GASTMEIER

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Work is set to start on a new medical centre for Featherston that will allow better access to health services for the South Wairarapa community.

Featherston Medical Centre will move from its premises at 3 Clifford Square to a larger, purpose-built facility on a vacant section on Fox St.

The new centre will create space to support initiatives for people with long-term conditions, improve access for visiting specialists, and mental health, addiction and Maori health services.

South Wairarapa District Council has approved the resource consent for the project, with foundation works anticipated to start within the next few weeks and construction estimated to take between six to nine months.

Practice manager Aruni Dias said it was about increasing services available to the community and improving care for patients.

“It’s about building sustainable services that will outlive us.”

Doctor and practice owner,

She said since buying the Featherston practice with her husband, Dr Harsha Dias, in April 2015, they had identified the high health care needs of the community.

“They haven’t had much extended health care services beyond a GP and they deserve to have more based here and closer to home.”

The centre will include five consultation rooms, nurses’ rooms, and a special room for minor operating procedures.

It will be built on a property adjoining the Featherston Community Centre, with patients able to park in the community centre’s carpark, accessible off Wakefield St.

Aruni, a chartered accountant, said the size of the practice meant there wasn’t capacity for visiting specialists or allied services, such as physios, dietitians, and midwives.

It was also apparent that a mental health nurse based out of the medical centre was needed.

“[The mental health nurse] started doing a clinic here on a Friday morning and straight away she was booked up and had 100 per cent of appointments turning up.”

Aruni said it made sense to have all services available under one roof.

“If you’re not feeling well and mobility or transport is an issue, getting to an appointment in Masterton can be like climbing Everest.”

The Dias’, who have two children attending local schools, say the self-funded project was only viable because of the Featherston Community Centre.

“Our principles and focus on the welfare and well-being of the community in Featherston are closely aligned with the community centre and we are delighted to be working together to benefit our growing community,” Dr Harsha
Dias said.

South Wairarapa Mayor Viv Napier said the new facility would hugely benefit many patients, taking away the need for many to travel to Masterton for additional services.

Wairarapa District Health Board and Tu Ora Compass Health PHO also support the initiative.

Featherston Community Centre says its profile will be raised with the relocation of the medical centre, and it will benefit from the annual rental fee for carparks.

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