Practice expanding to cater for growing population

Looking at plans for the expansion of Junction Health in Cromwell are (from left) Dr Keith Abbott...
Looking at plans for the expansion of Junction Health in Cromwell are (from left) Dr Keith Abbott, practice nurse Angela Ryley and operations manager Jo Hamilton. PHOTO: JARED MORGAN
Cromwell's burgeoning population has prompted one medical practice to future-proof for increasing demand.

Construction is under way to expand Junction Health’s existing premises in Traders Lane by up to a third.

Operations manager Jo Hamilton said since John Ryley and his wife and practice nurse Angela took ownership alongside Dr Keith Abbott and his partner, nurse Alice van Zijl in August 2019, the enrolled practice population had grown by 7%.

There had also been 11.5% growth in the previous 12 months, and overall growth was up 35% in the past four years.

The practice had been running since 2008.

"Our demographics remain similar with 18% of our enrolled population aged 0-14 years and approximately 30% aged 45-64."

There had been a noticeable jump in the number of elderly patients, Ms Hamilton said.

"The most noticeable jump is our enrolled patients that are over 65 years who made up 12% of our patients in 2016 and now make up 18%."

General manager Mr Ryley said the changing demographics had meant the time was right to expand the practice for better functionality.

That meant a new reception and waiting area in 140sq m of further space commandeered in the building, taking the practice from its existing size to about 360sq m in total.

The expansion would separate patients from consulting rooms and add extra consulting rooms, he said.

The practice had three doctors and three nurses on staff working in rotation, but the extra consultation rooms were needed to cater for visiting specialists.

"It’s an accredited teaching practice with registrars on six monthly placements and medical students."

Other specialists based at the practice included those serving the Lakes Skin Cancer Clinic, Your Physio physiotherapy, Southern Heart cardiac services, Keillor Opthamology and a stop smoking clinic, Mr Ryley said.

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