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City-based assessment centre

People requiring help with respiratory illness who cannot be assessed on the phone will be referred by their GP to a newly created city-based assessment centre.

The assessment centre staffed by local doctors and nurses has been created in the War Memorial Theatre on Bright Street.

The centre has been set up by primary care practitioners and Hauora Tairawhiti and is strictly for patients with respiratory conditions who have been referred there by their own GP.

Lead clinician Dr Fergus Aitcheson says the centre has been created to protect patients who still need to attend their normal medical centre for their conditions.

“We need to ensure that we can keep regular medical centres going for the normal things people need it for like appointments about diabetes, blood pressure, and all the other things people come to see a GP about. During the lockdown many consultations will be done over the phone but there will be still be patients that need to come to the practice, and we need to keep them safe.”

“One way of protecting those patients and the primary care workforce is by shifting the risk of assessing patients with possible respiratory illness away from general practices.”

Dr Aitcheson says the newly created assessment centre will screen patients to detect those who have severe illness and need hospital attention.

“It has been set up to ensure health staff can quickly and safely detect any serious respiratory illness in a patient whether that be COVID-19, influenza or something else.”

“The only people who will be seen at the centre are people who have been referred by their GP.”

Road users are advised that the section of Bright St between Childers Road and Kahutia St will be closed off to the public while the centre is in operation.

The centre is expected to open at 10am on Thursday.

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