New Health Minister Dr David Clark today opened a new medical centre for a practice he was patient of as a child – but today’s practice has allied health on site and visiting mental health staff.

Clark emphasised the vital role primary care played in New Zealand’s health system during the official opening of the Beachlands Medical Centre in Auckland.  He grew up in the area and he and his family were patients of the practice which currently has an enrolled population of 5900 patients, after merging with Maraetai practice.

He praised the current practice leaders for being proactive in anticipating future demand in the area and taking out a new lease and designing and fitting out the new premises.

Dr Clark also praised the role of Beachlands in being a pilot practice for several mental health initiatives with the Counties Manukau District Health Board.

It holds a monthly clinical meeting with a DHB psychiatrist and team, along with its own GPs and nurses. The DHB psychiatrist can also consult patients in practice rooms.

Additionally, Beachlands is part of a new CMDHB initiative with both Te Rawhiti (adult) and Whirinaki (child and adolescent) mental health nurses being in the practice to consult, advise and integrate care better alternate fortnights.

“Beachlands Medical Centre demonstrates the key role primary care plays in both physical and mental health,” says Dr Clark.

Beachlands is one of nine pilot practices working in a collaborative model with CMDHB and its four primary health organisations (PHOs) to redesign the way general practice delivers its services.

The practice is a member of East Health Trust PHO and has eight GPs, eight practice nurses, four receptionists and a practice manager.

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