"What is really attractive is that on the Coast it's all about family medicine and continuity of care. You get to know your patients and their families".
"I've found the challenges of working in a relatively remote and sparsely populated area has helped me grow as a GP and develop my skills"
Listen to Carol talking about working on the West Coast as a General Practitioner.
If you're thinking about working on the Coast as a GP, here are some things to think about....
We work in a dynamic environment where our needs are always changing and opportunities to participate in special projects arise frequently!
What we can offer you:
Our General Practices
Most district health boards in New Zealand are not involved significantly in primary care. As with so many other things the Coast’s unique situation has required an unusual solution.
The West Coast DHB has stepped in to acquire general practices to ensure that the community receives good access to primary care and is now the major owner of general practices on the West Coast.
Health professionals working in primary care are employed under multi employer collective agreements, and all practices belong to the high-performing West Coast Primary Health Organisation.
The DHB’s ownership of primary care services has allowed it to begin to develop true interdisciplinary teams in primary care and to integrate traditional general practice services with community services and, in some cases, inpatient care. In particular, our opportunities at Buller Medical Centre provide a blend of practice based and Hospital/ED work.
Buller Health – based in Buller’s main town Westport
This is an exciting time for Buller Health – a time for lateral thinking health professionals looking for a challenge and looking for an opportunity to reconsider the way we deliver services to rural communities. Buller Health is an integrated health unit housing all of the West Coast DHB services for Westport and Northern Buller. It services an area from Punakaiki in the south to Karamea in the north, and Inangahua Junction in the east. Specialist services for Buller patients are accessed via Out Patients Department clinics, Telehealth clinics, the Mobile Surgical Bus or from Grey Base Hospital, which is 100 km away.
Buller Health especially supports the development of new models of care which seeks a multidisciplinary focus that builds on collaboration and community involvement. The maintenance of wellbeing is not only the reserve of the health system.
Buller Health brings together the primary practice, inpatient care, community services, allied health, care of the elderly, outpatient services, maternity services and residential care to name a few. The Buller Health Plan identifies the health priorities for our community and provides information on our core services and our future focused work, such as chronic disease management.
The unit includes:
General Practitioners see patients in the practice as well as taking their turn working in the acute medical ward, A & E, long term care ward and the residential care facility. The practice has 7,000 + enrolled patients and staff consisting of General Practitioners, Practice Nurses, and a Phlebotomist all supported by a Practice Manager and a dedicated administration team. A satellite surgery in Ngakawau is staffed by a Rural Nurse Specialist and receptionist with weekly sessions provided by a GP based in Karamea. Another satellite surgery 100 km to the north in Karamea is staffed by two rural nurse specialists and a part time GP.
Co-located within Buller Health is the St Johns team, a community hearing therapist and public health organisation (PHO) navigator for cancer support and the mild to moderate mental health intervention team .
Inland and cradled amongst forested hill, Reefton is experiencing a revival in mining and growth across a spectrum of activity while maintaining its pioneer character. Industry is in the form of mineral extraction, several large private and state owned mines - coal and gold, timber processing & sawmilling facilities, dairy farming and recreational tourism.
Reefton Health is an integrated service combining secondary, community & primary health from one site to enable a more flexible use of staff and beds, and to strengthen the community services available at Reefton, particularly for older people.
The Clinical Services Manager leads this multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary team to best meet the needs of patients in line with the philosophy of person focused care. The Senior Administrator provides administration support to the Clinical Services Manager.
Reefton Hospital Wing
Reefton Hospital wing is a small facility with 5 medical / GP and 10 hospital level long-stay and rest home level beds. Reefton Hospital also has an Accident and Emergency department staffed 24/7 with medical cover from the Reefton Medical Centre during the day and on call support after hours from a GP, Rural Nurse Specialist or PRIME qualified Registered Nurse. Specialist services offered are A&E, and treatment of minor trauma and stabilisation prior to transfer. Continuing care and regular visits occur by Surgeons, Physicians, Midwifes, Alcohol and Drug services, Community Mental Health service, and a Diabetes Specialist.
The hospital is staffed by a Clinical Nurse Manager, Registered Nurses, Enrolled Nurses, Caregivers, a part-time Activities Officer, and an Administration Assistant.
Reefton Primary Health Wing
The Reefton Primary Health wing is currently staffed by 1.3 GPs, a part time Practice Nurse, two part time Receptionists providing full cover while the practice is open, and three Rural Nurse Specialists. We serve a population of around 2000 registered patients plus casual visitors. We provide all general practice services including accident and emergency Monday to Friday and hold weekend emergency clinics. We work on 15 minute appointments with a generous lunch break each day in order to catch up on any paperwork commitments. The on call roster is currently a 1:4 roster (the call is shared with the Rural Nurse Specialist and other PRIME trained Registered Nurses). All after hours calls are triaged by the Registered Nurse on duty at the Hospital wing as are any patients that call into the hospital.
Community nursing services are provided by a team of district and other specialised Nurses, a Whanau Nurse and a Rural Nurse Specialist.
Greymouth Medical Centre
Greymouth Medical Centre is a busy GP clinic with a patient base close to 6500.
It is one of three Medical Centres located in central Greymouth that provide health services to approximately 12,000 people.
Greymouth Medical Centre has six full time general practitioner positions, but there is flexibility of working hours and sharing on-call responsibilities. Five Practice Nurses make up the clinical team and the efficient receptionists support administrative services.
The Practice is owned by the West Coast DHB and is part of the West Coast PHO. Being DHB owned means the practices have the advantage of accessing clinical, administration and IT support systems offered by a large organisation, while retaining the benefits of working within a small team.
Hokitika Health Services
The Hokitika Health Centre in Hokitika is home to the community nursing team and the community mental health team and is also the base for a range of allied health services and for frequent outpatient clinics. The team aims to provide holistic quality care for the people of Westland and is in the forefront of rolling out the primary health nurse role a new model of nursing that integrates a number of typically separate nursing roles, allowing nurses to work in a more holistic way.
South Westland Area
The South Westland Practice is based on five clinics in townships spread along State Highway 6. This World Heritage Highway traverses the spectacular strip of land, 300 kms long, between the Southern Alps and the Tasman Sea, from the WaitahaRiver north of Hari Hari to the HaastPass in the south. A new large and well appointed health centre at Franz Josef Glacier serves as a hub with reception and administration for the smaller, more remote clinics. At full complement, the practice has two GPs sharing 1.5 FTE (effectively 4 days a week) who travel between the clinics. These are staffed by 5 Rural Nurse Specialists, plus relievers, who perform most of the day-to-day running of the service and the emergency call with the support of the GPs. St John provide ambulance and air rescue services.
Hospital services and Emergency Department are at Greymouth, two and a half hours north of Franz Josef. ‘Rural Focused Urban Specialists’ (RUFUS) in Paediatrics, Psychiatry and Palliative Care visit South Westland and are readily available for audio or video conferencing at other times. We aim to extend this model to other specialties in the coming year.
Being a remote rural practice, the work is very varied and provides the opportunity to use and develop a wide range of clinical skills. The service benefits from its well developed teamwork and a high level of respect and support between clinicians.
We are a teaching practice for undergraduate medical and nursing students from the University of Otago and Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology. Beyond clinical work and teaching is the possibility of being involved in clinical governance activities involving the wider integrated health services of the West Coast.
The GPs’ 4-day week roster allows for alternate two and four-day weekends off, giving extended time to take advantage of the huge local scope for outdoor pursuits or for travel to other parts of the country.
Not the same old, same old
careers available here...