July 6, 2020, 10:01 a.m.
The GP shortage has hit Northland hard over the years, but when a Te Hau Āwhiowhio ō Ōtangarei trust couldn't secure a GP for eight months they took matters into their own hands.
A new nurse-led model was established which saw nurses undertaking additional training to become a nurse practitioner. Nurse practitioners are able to carry out assessments, make referrals, conduct minor surgeries and prescribe over 200 medicines.
Janine Kaipo, Operations Manager for the clinic said "We realised we didn't need have a GP every day of the week. We could look at having one that could cover the essentials and keep our nursing staff safe, but actually our nurses were more than capable to service and care for our whānau."
With three of the seven nurses at the clinic now qualified as nurse practitioners, the clinic is able to continue to provide high-quality medical care to the Ōtangarei community in a way that aligns with overall kaupapa of the clinic.
A holistic Māori approach to care sees clients treated as whānau. There is no such thing as a standard appointment at the clinic.
Tiechar Hill said "Because it's a Māori practice, because we follow tikanga, we embrace tikanga. We understand the history of our whānau. There's no judgement, there's no preconceptions, we just roll with it. Whatever this issue is, we just roll with it.