Murupara Medical Centre will be reducing services from next week due to the Government’s mandatory vaccination order.
The vaccination order requires all health practitioners and all workers in close proximity to health practitioners providing services to members of the public to have received their first Covid-19 injection by November 15.
Two of the centre’s four GPs Dr Bernard Conlon and his wife, Dr Britta Noske have announced that they will be providing Telehealth services only from Tuesday onward.
Dr Conlon is being investigated by the New Zealand Medical Council in connection with a complaint made about his public comments around the Covid-19 Pfizer vaccination.
A community rally in support of Dr Conlon is being held in Murupara on Saturday, starting between 9.30am and 10am and ending around 1pm.
Te Runanga o Ngāti Manawa chairman Kani Edwards announced that the runanga had rescheduled its annual meeting to allow beneficiaries to attend the rally.
The annual meeting will now be held between 1pm and 4pm.
The two remaining GPs, Dr Erin Turner and Dr Susana Flores, will continue working part-time from the medical clinic three days a week with support from health care assistants Lorraine Davis and Tabee Klein.
The practice has asked the Ministry of Health to make an exception for its practice due to the “significant disruption to health services” the mandate will cause but has not yet received a response.
The centre has announced that other services likely to be affected by the order are the district nursing service it provides, and other routine nursing services such as childhood immunisations, routine cervical smears, injections and a daily blood-taking service.
The outreach clinics to Ruatāhuna, Minginui and Kaingaroa will stop and there is uncertainty as to whether a pharmacy service will continue in Murupara.
Meanwhile, Murupara Māori health provider Te Ika Whenua Hauora will be offering five-day-a-week vaccination clinics from its offices in Pine Drive.
Operations manager Robert Jenner says initially the hauora would be operated alongside Te Puna Ora o Mataatua, which had been running occasional drive-through clinics in Murupara for the past few months.
The hauora began advertising three full-time vaccination staff positions on Friday, two registered nurses and one administrator, to be based from its Murupara office and working in surrounding communities.
A Facebook post from the hauora says, “We are currently working closely with external stakeholders to co-ordinate vaccinations across Murupara and surrounding communities.”
As of Wednesday last week, the vaccination rate for eligible people in the township was 47 percent for first doses and 31 per cent for second doses.
The Beacon asked the Bay of Plenty District Health Board whether there was a plan in place to address the shortfall in services.
The board says it's working with the district’s communities including Murupara, on their Covid-19 preparedness and response.