The new owner is ProCare, a co-operative network of 170 GP practices across Auckland.
Health Trust Chairman Rory MacGillycuddy says “when we went looking for a new buyer, we weren’t simply going to sell to the highest bidder, the new owner also had to prove a commitment to this community - to both our staff and our patients.”
Mr MacGillycuddy says ProCare was the preferred option because of its assurance to keep current staff employed and for agreeing to keep the medical centre as a Very Low Cost Access Practice, a designation based on the demographics of the population which means it must keep its fees low.
ProCare officially takes over the running of the business on 29 November but says patients should notice very little change.
“Our priority is to firstly listen to staff and patients to find out what is working well and what could work better so we can work out where the opportunities for growth and improvement are,” says ProCare Network director Dr Francesco Lentini. Dr Lentini takes on the chair role at Kaipara Medical Centre once the new ownership takes effect.
Dr Lentini has worked in rural GP practices before so has an understanding of the unique needs of working in such a location where patients can sometimes be isolated and have difficulty accessing healthcare, and where it can be harder to recruit and retain staff.
Kaipara Medical Centre has been a member of the ProCare network of GP clinics, so has had a long- standing relationship for many years, but this is the first time ProCare has ventured into the ownership of a practice.
“This is an exciting new area of business for us and as such we’re committed to making sure the Kaipara Medical Centre becomes a flagship for what can be achieved given the right support, governance and experience,” says Dr Lentini.
With Kaipara Medical Centre sold and the recent closure of its operations at Te Whare Oranga ō Parakai, the Helensville District Health Trust will now focus on the redevelopment of its health campus on the corner of Commercial Road and Porter Crescent, including an expansion of the highly-successful Helensville Birthing Centre.
Rory MacGillycuddy says the Health Trust wants the community to have confidence that by leaving the Kaipara Medical Centre in such good hands it can now put its energies and resources into creating facilities that will best meet the health needs of the growing population for the next 20-30 years.
“We want our health facilities to be the envy of small towns right around New Zealand and this is the next step in allowing us to make that happen.”