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New Southland general practice enrols 3000 patients in first seven months

Friday 10 March 2023

One of Southland’s newest general practices has reached a significant milestone: West Invercargill Health has enrolled over 3000 patients just seven months since opening their doors.

The practice opened in August last year holding an open day on the Saturday of their first week. Support for the practice was clear with 300 patient enrolment forms completed that day alone.

“We had no idea what the response would be when we opened the practice, but it has been just amazing,” Practice manager Joseph Davidson says.

“We have taken on a lot of unenrolled patients, people heard about us through word of mouth, friends of friends, and people visited us as a casual or through EmergencyQ and chose to enrol.”

The practice is whānau-focussed and working to create a family-like environment for their patients.  Joseph reflected on the number of friends and family at the open day in August, helping people fill in enrolment forms for the new practice: “It is a lovely feeling to have that support and build the practice on these family values, it is a reminder of what a family general practice can be.”

West Invercargill Health Staff from left, Dr Steven Murugayah, Kelsey Heffer, Jeanette Kemp, Aimee Wright, Dr Mohamed Kiyas Abdul Azeez, Lianna Trent, Joseph Davidson.

In addition to supporting their enrolled patients, West Invercargill Health is involved in the EmergencyQ programme which is helping to reduce demand on Southland Hospital ED. The programme aims to reduce pressure on the emergency department by offering non-emergency patients the option of treatment in general practice.

The patient-centred practice also holds events to address specific health topics, these events are open to both their enrolled patients and members of the community. In November last year they held a smear clinic where they completed 86 smears across two days. This year they are planning a men’s health day on Saturday 6 May open for anyone to attend.
The milestone of 3000 enrolled patients is significant, but it is just the beginning for this motivated practice.

“We will keep enrolling, we have been able to increase our staff to enrol more patients. Our focus is not only on our enrolled patients but our wider community, we want to be involved in more community services and have knowledge of the services available. We believe the more we link up with these services the better we can support our community,” says Joseph.

WellSouth can support people to enrol in general practice in Southern though its enrolment line on 0800 478 256.

Andrew Swanson-Dobbs, WellSouth CEO, says general practice teams continue to be the heart of healthcare services.
“There are more than 80 general practices in Otago and Southland dedicated to caring for our communities. General practice teams are the health providers who know patients best.”

Being enrolled in a general practice has a number of benefits including lower costs appointments, access to funded screening programmes – including breast, bowel and cervical screening --  and continuity of care from a health practitioner who knows a patient better.

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