Southern Cross Health Trust funds essential health positions at Auckland City Mission

Tuesday , 24 July 2018 by Jo Lawrence-King

Southern Cross Health Trust has made a three-year commitment to fund two essential clinical positions at Auckland City Mission’s General Practice; the Calder Health Centre.

The two positions – a General Practice Assistant and a Registered Practice Nurse – will provide essential health services to people who are homeless, families and individuals in crisis, clients with mental health concerns and those battling addiction.

The General Practice Assistant role, made possible by the Southern Cross Health Trust funding, will provide essential support to the clinical team at the Centre, including basic clinical skills, recall and screening services. This will free up other clinical staff to spend more time delivering patient care.

The Practice Nurse provides primary care nursing support and patient treatments. Both roles form part of the general practice team, providing patient-centred, culturally appropriate and individual holistic care to patients.

Auckland City Missioner Chris Farrelly says the funding from the Trust highlights the two organisations’ aligned purposes. “The work of our organisations complement one another,” he says. “We are grateful to Southern Cross Health Trust for its commitment to this essential health service for some of Auckland’s most marginalised people. This funding enables the Mission to provide more intensive health care services to the complex patient group we serve.”

Members of the Southern Cross Health Trust Board visited the Calder Health Centre last week, to meet with some of the staff and observe their work. “Auckland City Mission - and its Health Centre - is a stellar example of the difference integrated health services can make to those New Zealanders most in need,” says Board Chair Greg Gent. “We are delighted to be able to support their work in Auckland.”

The Calder Health Centre currently has 1,621 enrolled patients and conducts more than 14,000 health consultations annually. The average number of visits per patient at the Calder Health Centre is around 11 per year - about three times the national rate. Consultations are also significantly longer than normally required in general practice. The frequency and length of visits are a direct reflection of the hardship and challenges faced by the people accessing the Centre’s specialised services: most patients fit into the Quintile 5 deprivation level*.

Niko** is a regular patient at the Calder Health Centre. “One of the worst things about sleeping rough is being wet all the time,” he says. “My feet get infected because my shoes and socks are always wet. My feet smell and I am ashamed. The nurse at the Calder Centre cleans my feet and treats the infection. No one else wanted to do this for me.”



*The NZ Deprivation scale (NZDep) is an area-based measure of socioeconomic deprivation in New Zealand. It measures the level of deprivation for people in each small area. It is based on nine Census variables. NZDep can be displayed as deciles or quintiles. Each NZDep quintile contains about 20 percent of small areas (meshblocks or census area units) in New Zealand. Quintile 5 represents people living in the most deprived 20 percent of small areas.

**Name changed to protect client privacy.