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Starship Community opens first New Zealand in-school relocatable health facility

Starship Community has launched a New Zealand first at Panmure Bridge School; an in-school, relocatable health facility.

Today Starship Community launched a New Zealand first at Panmure Bridge School; an in-school, relocatable health facility.

Whare Hauora, a collaboration between health and education, was launched by Starship Community today, in partnership with the Starship Foundation. It is a fit-for purposes facility that will provide a space for healthcare services to be delivered alongside education in the school environment for some of our most vulnerable children.  

Dr Mike Shepherd, Director - Starship Medical and Community, says: "We want to make healthcare delivery as easy and as accessible as possible. We know that delivering healthcare in schools is great for children and their whānau; getting treatment faster, reducing travel costs, reducing the need for whānau to take time off work.

"Starship Community services currently provide care in homes and schools, but the facilities available in schools are often not ideal for providing high level care. An in-school facility means that we can deliver even better healthcare in schools, with services ranging from prevention to specialist clinics.

"We are very grateful for the support of the Starship Foundation, Barfoot and Thompson and to Panmure Bridge School for joining us in this helpful partnership."

The Whare Hauora contains a small waiting area, a private treatment space where patients are seen and office space at the rear for administration. It measures around 7.2 metres long and 3 metres wide and is similar to a shipping container, making it easily relocatable.

Whare Hauora is the brainchild of Nurse Consultant Sarah Williams who saw first-hand the need for appropriate spaces for healthcare within schools, and has worked on the project from conception through to reality.

Sarah says: "The Whare Hauora project celebrates a collaboration between health and education which came about through a shared vision and established relationship. Experience had shown us that having a nurse available in the primary school space greatly supports children who have health issues that are preventing them attending school or engaging in learning activities. This approach works even better if there is an appropriate facility for our nurses and others to use."

Richard Johnston, Principal of Panmure Bridge School, says: "This concept makes a significant and positive change in the relationship between education (the school ) and health. The model developed here, in creating a respectful and purpose built environment, has huge potential to be up-scaled across the education sector to meet the needs of many communities.

"It is also evidence of the weaving together and forming collaborative partnerships between many different organisations to focus on achieving greater good for communities."  

The build, fit out and installation of this first Whare Hauora was funded by Barfoot & Thompson, a Five Star Partner of the Starship Foundation. The healthcare service is funded and provided by Auckland DHB.

While Whare Hauora visits are currently only available to Panmure Bridge school students, this is just the beginning of the journey, with two more Whare Hauora planned in future.

Peter Thompson, Managing Director for Barfoot & Thompson says; "We are a family owned business where we view young New Zealanders as the next generation of leaders, so we share Starship's vision to accelerate world class healthcare for our children.

"The idea for Whare Hauora, an easily accessible healthcare facility at a local primary school, was naturally something we wanted to be part of. We're excited to see the facility now being used and we look forward to helping establish more Whare Hauora within our communities."

In addition to being relocatable, the Whare Hauora can be self-contained with the ability to use a generator, air conditioning and own water supply.

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