High-profile doctor and local iwi establish virtual medical clinic




Former New Zealander of the year Dr Lance O'Sullivan and a Taranaki iwi have set up a virtual medical clinic after Patea was left without a GP.

Dr Lance O'Sullivan and a Taranaki iwi have set up the virtual clinic after Patea was left without a GP.
Source: 1 NEWS

Dr O'Sullivan has been busy training non-medical staff in Patea to use a version of his award winning app, which the health deputies will begin using to record the symptoms of residents visting the Patea Maori Club from tomorrow.

Once the symptoms are recorded Dr O'Sullivan's medical team will then make a remote diagnosis, sending prescriptions back to the local pharmacy.

"Things like skin infections, dental infections, respiratory problems, gout, there's quite a lot we can do virtually," Dr O'Sullivan told 1 NEWS.

Local iwi Ngati Ruanui are investing $30,000 into a three-month pilot program which will serve the whole town.

Debbie Ngawera-Packer, the CEO of the Te Runganga O Ngati Ruanui Trust said: "You can look at the solution and wait for someone else to come in. Or you can look at it as an opportunity to sort of say we must address this crisis situation."

While GPs have welcomed the move, not everyone is convinced by the new technology, warning there have been problems overseas with virtual care.

"Some services overseas have used non-health professionals and often those services have run into a certain amount of trouble when things get sticky," said Dr Richard Medlicott from the Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners.

Ngati Ruanui hope the Government will co-invest once the trial period has ended.

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