More options for care around the clock in Ashburton
Ensuring people and their whānau can get care when and where they need is a top priority for local general practice teams and the wider health care community in Ashburton.
Dr Sue Fowlie, Clinical Director of the Rakaia Medical Practice and member of the Canterbury Clinical Network Alliance Leadership Team says the community can access care in a variety of ways with the general practice team that best fits their needs.
“Health providers across the Ashburton region have worked together with their community to ensure that it’s easy for patients to enrol with a new practice or transfer between practices,” says Sue.
When a person contacts a practice to enrol, but the practice is full, they will be helped to find another general practice team that suits their needs.
“If a practice isn’t taking new patients, it will be in the best interest of everyone, as it’s not safe for a practice to have too many patients to care for. But, there will always be another option, which can be worked out with the patient.”
“It is your right to change GPs or practices for any reason and patients shouldn’t feel uncomfortable about doing this. GPs just want to know that people are getting the care they need and won’t be offended if you transfer to another doctor. It’s all about the patient feeling comfortable and not delaying their care.”
Many practices are now offering appointments by telephone and/or video, as often patients don’t actually need to be on site.
When patients contact their practice they are offered the options that best suits their need. For example if it’s just a prescription that is required often it can be sent straight to the pharmacy; if you have Covid-19 symptoms precautions can be put in place, such as PPE and meeting you at a different entrance or other issues can safely be checked via a video or phone consult.
“The response to the variety of ways you can receive care has been overwhelmingly positive, as it means patients can save time as they don’t always need to travel and take time away from work and their whānau.”
Care is always available around the clock and if people need health advice, all they need to do is ring their general practice team and their call will be answered 24/7.
“Sometimes the call may take a little while to answer, but stay on the line. Some practices have extended hours, so if you call late in the day, you may be able to talk to your own practice team. Otherwise it will be diverted and answered by a health professional who will offer advice and suggest where to get care if appropriate.”
For further information people should contact a local general practice, who will be able to offer advice and answer their questions.
The process supporting patients to transfer and enrol with general practices in Ashburton has been created through the Ashburton SLA – a group of health professionals, people working in health related services and people who use health services that work together to ensure the local community has access to appropriate and sustainable health services.
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