An innovative concept when it opened, the Mosgiel Health
Centre celebrates its 40th birthday this month.
Centre manager Kathryn Tohill said the centre was unique in
the 1970s for co-locating GPs with district nurses, Plunket,
public health nurses, radiology, occupational therapists and
• Friends' years of
The joining of four Mosgiel general practices to a community
health centre built by the local hospital board was a first
in New Zealand.
Over time, social workers, psychiatric personnel,
psychologists and the Otago Medical School had a presence.
Interest in the concept was such the Chinese Minister of
Health visited in 1979.
The doors opened to patients on August 5, 1974, and the
centre was officially opened by then health minister Bob
Tizard on August 24.
In 1992, when health buildings were being privatised, the
centre was bought by a group, including some of the existing
Refurbishment followed to accommodate growing numbers of
patients. Podiatry, a dietitian, laboratory and hearing
services moved in, while social services moved to their own
The radiology service closed with the retirement of
radiographer John Adie and because of the cost of replacing
the centre's ''near antique'' radiology equipment.
''We still have most of the services from the early days of
the centre available to our patients, although some of the
business names and people providing the services have changed
over the years,'' Miss Tohill said.
The original GPs were Drs Robert McAllister, Donald
McAllister, Leo Garmonsway, Alec Luke and Irwin Logan. Dr
Robert McAllister, now 81, retired in 1998. From its opening
until about 1990, the centre offered the sole GP practice in
Mosgiel, he said.
Four of the GPs practised previously in Mosgiel, and got
together because they saw little benefit in being in
opposition to each other. The move allowed them to take on a
''It was a great team. We emphasised the team spirit side of
it,'' Dr McAllister said.
''We discussed the needs for the whole of the area.''
At the time, there were some doubts about getting public and
district nurses working together, but they collaborated well.
''It cut out a lot of unnecessary doubling up of work with
The GPs were able to support one another, have regular
contact and offer advice.
''To us it was a new thing to do to come together.''
For Dr McAllister, the most difficult part of his practice
was carrying the burden of emergency care.
Primary healthcare was very different in the 1970s, and GPs
had to juggle many demands.
• The anniversary will be marked with a celebration on Sunday
afternoon at the centre with staff and former staff.
If any former staff have not been contacted, please call the
centre on 489-5135.