Free Dunedin GP service Servants Health Centre is running a $1000 to $1500 monthly deficit. This is unsustainable. The practice on Princes Street caters to some of the neediest people in Dunedin.
In a recently published article, I have asked what the Government is doing to support services like Servants Health Centre who practise holistic care and meet the needs of lower socio-economic groups who can’t pay for care? See: Plea for funds to sustain Servants Health Centre.
The centre has always faced funding challenges. This was true when I visited the centre in 2011 with then MP Steve Chadwick. But the practice can no longer afford to take new patients, and many who need the service are missing out.
Doctors and nurses at the centre are all volunteers. So they can’t take salary cuts. The medical staff at Servants make every taxpayer dollar stretch further than you would think possible. Surely you would think funding the modest cost of their practice would be a priority in our health system. It seems not. The centre is threatened with closure due to a gap between costs and current funding.
The Government can, and must, do better.