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Overcoming health barriers


People have little to no choice when it comes to their primary health needs, according to Masterton nurse Trish Wilkinson.

And it’s sending a lot of people to Wairarapa Hospital’s emergency department unnecessarily, she says.

Ms Wilkinson has spent the past two years planning a new health centre for the region, Manaaki Health Wairarapa, which is hoped to act as a satellite practice to ease the load on existent health centres.

“Primary health medical centres aren’t coping at the moment,” she said.

“I work in these places and hear of people who can’t get an appointment for three weeks, and that no casuals are taken.

“I’m thinking, why not? It’s people’s lives we’re talking about.

“Going up to the hospital and waiting six hours because you can’t be seen at your health centre is not the thing to do.

“But unfortunately, we’re back to where people have got no choice again.”

She said the biggest barriers to setting up the new health centre had been funding, and finding the time to dedicate to the proposal.

“If a whole lot of people put in a little bit, we’ll have this,” she said.

Manaaki Health Wairarapa has a central Masterton location earmarked, and Ms Wilkinson said she hoped to have the centre open by February next year.

“We need a couple more business-savvy trustees who may be helpful to us in the way of looking for funding.”

Manaaki Health — which means to support, protect, respect and care for others — will be a not-for-profit community health centre mainly run by nurses and located in Masterton.

Members of the board are currently applying for funding and grants.

Ms Wilkinson said the centre would accept casual clients and complement existing healthcare services when it opens.

It is hoped the centre will have a focus on prevention and offer several health services with regular visiting specialists such as a nutritionist, naturopath and physiotherapist.

Feedback can be sent via [email protected].


Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland is Wairarapa’s Local Democracy Reporter, a Public Interest Journalism role funded through NZ On Air. Emily has worked at the Wairarapa Times-Age for seven years and has a keen interest in council decision-making and transparency.

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