The Gore Medical Centre is celebrating a milestone in primary care in the South.
The centre is the first general practice in Otago and Southland to receive Health Care Home (HCH) accreditation.
The programme aims to improve the service general practices offer.
Some of the features of the programme include triaging patients to find out what level of care they require, telephone and video consultations, a new telephone system and giving patients access to health records and other services through a smartphone app or online.
Providing equitable access to health care for Maori is another goal of the programme and practice staff have been working with Hokonui Runanga.
The practice has resumed holding clinics at the Gore and Mataura kohanga reo.
Gore Medical Centre practice manager Susan Jones said it had been very helpful to have these improvements and better processes in place.
‘‘It’s been a lot of work on the part of all our staff, but the most important thing is that there’s improved experience for patients, including better access to the care they need and, in some cases, that care can be delivered without them having to physically come into the practice.
‘‘For some patients who live some distance from town, the opportunity to have a telephone consultation has been a win-win and saves the patient time.’’
It had taken the practice about four years to implement the programme.
The centre should be in a better place to manage the health reforms which are being rolled out throughout the country, Mrs Jones said.
The practice has more than 8000 enrolled patients.
WellSouth Health Care Home facilitator Ali Wilden said a commitment to making progress helped Gore Medical to be the first to reach the HCH milestone.
‘‘Gore Medical has a history of being innovative, whether in response to securing workforce or embracing new technology, and it has helped them to reorientate themselves to be better.
‘‘I know they will continue on their work for the benefit of the community.’’