New medical centre could help more than 3000 patients

A new medical centre will open in Invercargill to help some of the thousands of people without a general practice doctor in the city.

West Invercargill Health is set to open on August 1, with doctors Mohamed Kiyas Abdul Azeez and Derek Bangura, and practice manager Joseph Davidson.

The trio, who met while working at another Invercargill medical centre, decided to open the centre to help out with the rising general practice crisis in Southland.

Last month, Stuff reported there were at least 3000 people in Invercargill that were not enrolled with a medical centre but some doctors had suggested the number could be as high as 7000, for the population of 57,100.

The situation is putting pressure on Southland Hospital because people are either turning up at the emergency department when they can’t get an appointmentor waiting until they are seriously unwell before seeking care.

Azeez said the medical practice had been in discussions with WellSouth to help people that were on waiting lists to get a doctor but newcomers would also be welcome to enrol.

WellSouth had informed him there were 5000-7000 people without doctors, he said.

At the moment, Azeez said, it was expected 500-3000 people would enrol at the new centre, which would be open enrolments at the end of July.

With two full-time doctors, enrolments would be first-come, first-serve and 3000 would be the capacity at this stage, Azeez said.

However, the practice might hire some part-time doctors in the future, he said.

Appointing staff for the new surgery had not been an issue as it had already hired a receptionist and a nurse, Azeez said.

West Invercargill Health will have six consultation rooms. This was to prepare for future expansion, he said.

However, Azeez said, it was very difficult to get doctors. “We will be approaching junior doctors and [those] who are interested in general practice.”

Azeez had been working at Southland Hospital for more than 15 years.

Bangura moved to Wellington six months ago but will return to open the centre.

Uma Ahmed: Stuff July 13 2022