Castlecliff Health left outraged at nowhere to go
NZ Herald 10 Jun, 2017 05:07 AM
Castlecliff Health medical centre may be forced to close within a year if they cannot go ahead with planned expansion.
The owner said Whanganui District Council (WDC) are making this impossible.
Castlecliff Health owner and general practitioner (GP) Praveen Thadigiri said due to a high patient demand and new Government regulations they are in desperate need for a revamp.
Dr Thadigiri bought the business in 2014 from Te Waipuna Medical Centre, who shifted into the city centre. Since then patient numbers have risen from 1200 to 2400 with 86 per cent of those patients in high need.
“We have a patient waiting list a mile long and GPs and nurses ready to employ but we cannot feed the demand because the building is not sufficient,” he said.
In July 2016 the Ministry of Health imposed a July 2017 deadline that would see all practices achieve the national standard, Cornerstone, meeting all accreditation. Last year 300 practices in New Zealand did not meet that standard and Castlecliff Health was one.
“The standard covers a whole range of credentials from the point you enter, how our rooms operated, privacy etc…of course we want to achieve that but it would mean a major revamp which we are willing to do but we do not own the building or the land,” Dr Thadigiri said.
The building, located on Carson Street in Castlecliff, is owned by the Castlecliff Community Trust (CCT) and the land is owned by the WDC.
Dr Thadigiri said over a year ago they approached CCT who were more than happy to sell us the building but we needed to buy the land with it.
“The procedure to subdivide and purchase land from the council started in May 2016 and in May 2017 the WDC advised us it could not go ahead due to lack of iwi permission for WDC to sell its assets,” Dr Thadigiri said.
WDC senior town planner Jonathan Barrett confirmed this but said they had been working with CHC for the last year to locate a site that would benefit the business and the community it serves.
“We have talked to him about Carson Street, we have talked to him out Lee Street, we have talked to him about land on Matai Street, so we have searched quite hard for sites that were big enough for him,”Mr Barrett said.
The Lee Street land, located directly opposite the current building, was the health centre’s next available choice but Dr Thadigiri said it could not go ahead because Mr Barrett and Leighton Toy informed them the road leading to the proposed entry was not a legal road.
“The joke practically wrote itself as this is the same road we use to access the clinic we are currently in,
“We were later told that the road was not a problem and we could go ahead with Lee Street but after the muck around from council our private investors were put off and pulled out,” Dr Thadigiri said.
Since then, Castlecliff Health has purchased a plot of land on Rakau Road ready for developments to take place but on Monday WDC has declined their resource consent.
Mr Barrett said the area did not seem suitable due to the industrial businesses already being developed there.
“With more businesses being attracted to that area you would have more heavy traffic coming in and out and more industrial noise and dust.
“Resource consent was rejected because of insufficient information addressing the impacts and how it would deal with the conflicts of other existing businesses,” Mr Barrett said.
Dr Thadigiri said he felt as if the WDC did not want the project to go ahead and he did not understand why.
“We are stuck in bureaucracy where there is no clarity. I would expect a council, where a community has been struggling for years, to do better,” Dr Thadigiri said.
Mr Barrett said the council is very keen to see the project go ahead but in a way that benefits the business and the community it serves.
Established in October 2014 as Castlecliff Health (www.castlecliffhealth.co.nz),
following a relaunch, the name was changed to Living Waters Medical on 14 November 2020.
The organization stands on a foundation of the core principles of Care, Communication and Competence; the 3Cs.