Welcome . . . Some of the many doctors, nurses and administration staff who will be based at the new Timaru Medical Centre in Heaton St.

by Alexia Johnston

Timaru’s new multimillion-dollar medical complex will welcome its first patient next week, three years after planning started.

The complex, at 45 Heaton St, estimated to cost $8million, will house Hassall Street Surgery and Timaru Medical Centre, along with Roberts Pharmacy, which has been operating from the site since late last year.

The pharmacy has kept its Hassall St premises open during that time, but will close those doors over the coming days, co-owner and pharmacist Peter Burton said.

Fellow co-owner Brent Roberts had been at the Hassall St site for more than 30 years, and both medical centres had been in the street for more than 25 years.

South Link Health Services locality practice manager Michelle Baldwin said although it was the end of an era, an exciting new adventure was ahead.

The new practice features 14 doctor and nurse consultation rooms, a “well-kitted out” procedure room and a two-bed triage unit.

Doctors to be based at the new centre are John Fanning, Jenny McGechie, Mike Devlin, Ian Smith and Mar Duran.

Mrs Baldwin said the new purpose-built premises, called Timaru Medical Centre, met accreditation requirements for general practice in New Zealand, making it one of the most up-to-specification centres in the country.

“We’re building it for the future, not just now,” she said.

Staff from each facility would be at the new site as of Monday.

Mrs Baldwin said the larger space meant the practice could also have trainee GPs and nurses in the future, along with complementary services, including physio and counselling.

She said the centre, which was designed to be a one-stop shop for enrolled patients, also had scope for an increase in patient numbers.

“In the future, yes, but not instantly as we want to make sure that we have everything right for our current enrolled population.”

When the centre opens on Monday, it will have a combined 7500 patients, but had the potential to increase that to 10,000, Mrs Baldwin said.

Company director and property developer Peter O’Connell was pleased with the result.

He was in talks with two more medical-related tenants as half of the upstairs area was still vacant. One non-medical business had also expressed interest in relocating to the site.

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