I heard on the radio the other day about the opening of a new Health Centre for Lower Hutt.
A general practice is to open in Lower Hutt early next year to accommodate a growing number of residents who are unable to see a local family doctor.
The Hutt Valley District Health Board says the situation has occurred as doctors have closed their books to new patients.
This situation in the Hutt Valley has been dire for a number of years.
The problem which hit the headlines last year is that we have one of the worst ratios of GPs per head of population of any urban area in New Zealand. Overwhelmed practices were unable to enrol new patients. It was estimated last year that around 3,000 people couldn’t enrol with a GP in the Hutt Valley and people were using Hospital Emergency Departments as their primary access to health services.
Currently there are around 120 odd GPs practicing in the Valley. Local MP Chris Hipkins also shows concern on this matter last year before election.
It is great to see a solution being addressed along with the timing which is before winter, when demands on GPs are at the highest.