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Tokoroa and South Waikato

I visited Tokoroa Hospital and attended South Waikato Community Forum, and I was impressed by the potential that was apparent. There appeared to be a well-resourced set of services and a substantial community facility which colocates two general practices, a community pharmacy, the community and hospital services and a number of private providers with around 6,500 outpatient visits from visiting specialists. However, it is not realising its potential for a number of reasons which include:

• the development of services appear to be relatively unplanned and ad hoc – current out of hours arrangements are an example of this

• not enough time and effort has put in to making sure that services collaborate for the benefit of patients

• lack of use of readily available technology to undertake virtual consultations by clinicians based in Hamilton

• some retrenchment to Hamilton of SMOs in recent years which has seen a reduction in outpatients

Tokoroa is a locality where we are determined to see early progress towards the development of locality based integrated services. This will require significant leadership and management input to work with the local community and local clinicians to ensure that initiatives the community have told us they wish to see are delivered. This includes being more responsive to the diversity of need in South Waikato, specifically with the mix of Pacifica, Māori and Pākehā populations. They want more local access, including to mental health crisis services. They have asked us to use the strong community networks that exist and work with them to address issues such as housing that impact significantly on health.

In addition to making best use of resources we should move towards a virtual single organisation working as one rather than several colocated silos.