New medical centre for Palmerston

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Palmerston intends to rebuild its existing medical centre.

The East Otago Community Health Trust held a meeting on Tuesday night to inform the public of plans to build a new medical centre, which will be located where the current one is based.

East Otago Community Health Trust chairperson Mary O’Connell said the main focus for now was to get a fund raising committee together before the end of the year.

“Our goal is to organise a group of people who are ready to get fund raising for the new premises straight away, and hopefully we can it up-and-running within two years.”

The current premises are old and somewhat out of date which can make it hard for the workers and Mrs O’Connell said that was a major factor in the decision.

“We want our workers working in appropriate conditions, and a new centre is the best way for that.”

Mrs O’Connell said they were aiming to build the new building for between $700,000-$900,000.

“That’s our goal to hopefully build it for between that, but we will see how it goes and we are confident it can be done.”

The new premises will be located where the old building’s car park currently is with the old building to be demolished for a car park when the new one is completed.

Plans are presently in draft form only.

Waitaki District mayor Gary Kircher attended the meeting on Tuesday night and said the medical centre is needed.

“The building they are currently in is old and is no longer really suitable for the practice, they have to go into different rooms to get hot and cold water, so they have been looking at a proposal for a new building.”

Mr Kircher said it would be tough to have the new centre up-and-running within the two year time frame.

“They have a bit of work to do and quite a lot of money to fund raise, but there are some very keen locals on the committee and we will help them apply for grants through the Lotteries Commission and other avenues.”

One thing which Mr Kircher feels will help with a new centre is getting new GPs.

“I think a new centre will definitely help in the way of attracting new GPs some rural areas have been struggling so a new building will really help.”

Mr Kircher wishes them all the best and said they will be happy to assist or help if approached.

By BRAYDEN LINDSAY