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Raglan home to New Zealand’s best rural practice

New Zealand’s best: The award-winning practice team at West Coast Health in Raglan Back row left to right: Wendy Girling, Jennifer Hughes, Rebekah Doran, Sue Taylor, Fiona Bolden, Lynny Stevenson Front row: Carol Millar, Tracey Frew, Mike Loten, Debbie Phillips-Morgan, Lisa Fellingham, Michelle Meenagh

West Coast Health in Raglan has been named New Zealand’s best rural general practice team.

The team received the accolade at the National Rural Health Conference in Rotorua this month.

The practice is owned by Mike and GPs Fiona Bolden and Rebekah Doran. They work together with a GP locum, six nurses and four business administration staff to provide high quality health care to more than 4,600 enrolled patients.

The practice received four nominations from the public, which were judged by a panel anonymously. This meant the selection process was based on the content of the nomination, not who is nominated or who made the nomination.

Dr Mike Loten, has been a GP at the Pinnacle practice for eight years says, the award was a pleasant and welcome surprise.

“We have never been into the business of entering competitions, so this was a pleasant surprise which was very welcomed,” says Mike.

“Generally we get very positive feedback from the community, including in our patient surveys. We provide professional, confidential care with respect and empathy. Availability is important so we ensure that we have an appointment available on the day and anything urgent is definitely seen as soon as possible.

“We’ve heard we have a lot of supporters on social media who promote our services to the wider public, and they say all of the doctors and staff are good to deal with.”

The community minded members of the practice team often look beyond their day jobs and volunteer for local organisations and events.

“We’ve got a great relationship with the community. When we live and work in a small community, we feel a part of it, and we really want to make the community work better and stay healthy” says Mike.

“We’re eager to see the benefits and results of volunteering and being more available to the wider community. Because we’re much more visible we can set an example by being seen to be leading a healthy lifestyle.

“The activities we sponsor in the community tend to be health-focussed. We sponsor the Raglan bike park, the local bike race and the golf tournament. We give away healthy food prizes, not meat packs.”

Mike says the award is about recognising the whole team, not just the clinicians.

“The front desk team are friendly and professional. This flows through to the rest of the patient’s journey. The whole team has worked hard and deserves this award.”

One of the four nominations said West Coast Health is an outstanding example of a rural general practice.

It said: “The practice is actively involved in the community, forming collaborative relationships with a wide cross-section of organisations and health providers. Dr Fiona Bolden is a founding member of the Raglan Suicide Prevention and Awareness Group.

“All staff at the practice form positive, compassionate relationships with patients and are hugely supportive. Any new registrars are fully inducted into the community, spending time with district nurses, visiting the local rest home and being briefed by organisations such as St John, Path Lab and the Raglan Community House.

“West Coast Health is known as a teaching practice and are great advocates for getting medical practitioners into rural communities. They also endeavour to keep treatment costs to a minimum. Affordable health care for rural communities is critical to community wellbeing.”

For more information, contact:

Stephen Doran
Communications Manager
Midlands Health Network
Ph: 07 858 5969
Mob: 021 945 898

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