Hastings Health Centre announces free doctor and nurse visits for Under 18s
Hawke’s Bay’s largest provider of primary health services, The Hastings Health Centre, is introducing free family doctor and nurse visits for under 18 year olds, enrolled with its health team.
The Hastings Health Centre’s chief executive Andrew Lesperance said this would see over 1700 teenagers living in Hastings and Havelock North now having free access to see their doctor, nurse practitioner or nurse.
“Offering free doctor visits for young teenagers is an important step towards youth establishing good long-term healthcare relationships which will help ensure they look after themselves now and in the future,” said Mr Lesperance.
“As the region’s largest primary health provider, we recognise the leadership role we play in delivering services which help towards improving the lives and wellbeing for all those living in our local communities.
The free visits for teenagers under 18 is in partnership with the Hawke’s Bay’s District Health Board, which became the first in the country to provide extra funding beyond the Government’s policy that is now extending to under 14s.
“One of the messages we need to reinforce is that to receive free healthcare for under 18’s, you need to be enrolled with a primary health practice that is signed up for this initiative.
“Along with improving access to health services, we are also focused on establishing very good, relatable relationships between young teenagers and their healthcare team of doctors, nurses, nurse practitioners, pharmacists and others.
“We want to do as much as possible to help encourage youth to be able to talk openly with their doctor and nurses about their health and we welcome the ability to enable this to happen by removing financial barriers.
“The free service also includes routine prescriptions and all appointments must be during the week Monday to Friday – from 8.30 to 5pm. The free service does not cover Urgent care, ACC consultations, x-ray or diagnostic services.
Keeping up with the digital age, Mr Lesperance said all patients over the age of 16 could sign up to use Hastings’s Health Centre’s www.hastingshealth.co.nz web portal “Manage My Health” which improves communication and access to patient information, along with making appointments online.
“Staying connected with youth through the digital world they live in today is another great way to engage with them to ensure they look after their health and stay well.
“Making sure primary and community health services are far more accessible is a real focus for us here at The Hastings Health Centre, and technology is going to play an ever increasing role in this going forward,” Mr Lesperance said.