Plans for a new after-hours medical service, open longer than current options, are being looked into by the Wairarapa District Health Board.
At Monday’s DHB meeting, board member Adrienne Staples moved to explore options on a model of after-hours healthcare that would work best for Wairarapa.
One model suggested in the agenda was a seven-day-a-week urgent care clinic based at Wairarapa Hospital which would help people with medical issues that could not wait for a doctor’s appointment but did require emergency care.
It is envisaged the clinic would see patients with problems such as sprains, cuts and broken bones, and high fevers and illnesses, treated without the need for an appointment.
The proposed urgent care clinic would operate at the hospital until 9pm each day, with the emergency department continuing to cover primary care when the clinic was closed.
Patients would arrive at the same entrance, before being directed to the appropriate unit.
Masterton’s current after hours service is open on weekends, from 9am-5pm, with four clinics in South Wairarapa and Carterton open one day each, from 5-7pm, Monday to Thursday.
In the first three months of 2018, more than 1100 patients were seen at Wairarapa’s after-hours services.
Papers prepared for the DHB by Compass Health stated the demand for services was increasing with the region’s population, as were expectations of services in terms of timeliness and accessibility.
An urgent care service would give prompt access to medical experts, Compass Health said.
Masterton Medical Centre general manager Robyn Wilson said it was open to any discussion that may improve after-hours service for patients.