Regional | Hauora

Te Aranga Health Clinic bought to offer whanāu cheaper medical care

In a move to cut medical costs for whanāu, a Christchurch not-for-profit organisation has bought the GP clinic Te Aranga Health.

He Waka Tapu is the largest kaupapa Māori social services organisation in Christchurch, and the clinic's staff are 90% Māori, working for clients who are at least 80% Māori or Pasifika.

The clinic purchase was considered after statistics came out showing many whānau aren't registered with a GP because of the cost.

The Te Aranga Health Clinic is the first of its kind and is helping families afford to go to see a doctor.

“So for a good five or so years, we've been looking at how we can support in that primary health space, particularly in the GP clinic space, because we're seeing our whānau going directly into A&E instead of getting support before that," He Waka Tapu chief executive Jackie Burrows said.

"So it was really just trying to create a circuit breaker in that A&E space because we knew we were getting overloaded there but also added another dimension to what we could offer for our whānau coming through the door."

Te Aranga Health Clinic is a not-for-profit, with Pegasus Health (Charitable) as the clinic's main supporter. The clinic has been open for the past 11 months with clinical services that cater to all four corners of the body and prices that don't hurt the pocket as much: GP Consults: under 14 years = free; 14 - 17 years = $13; 18 years and over = $19.50Nurse Consults: under 18 years = free; 18 years and over = $5 per 15-minute consult.

The challenge has been laid out to have more clinics like Te Aranga, so there are likely to be more clinics like this in the South Island.

“We are looking at Hakatere; there's a really big need down there. And the other area we're looking at is where we can provide further support, in the Chatham Islands, so Whare Kauri and that really is just about building again, to meet the need for a population base there,” Burrows said.