You are not permitted to download, save or email this image. Visit image gallery to purchase the image.
General practitioners at Alexandra's four medical centres have joined forces to buy PGG Wrightson Ltd's old premises on the main business street, which will house a medical complex.
Doctors and nurses from Centennial Health, Cornerstone Health and the Central Medical Centre's two practices have been planning the merger since the idea was first mooted about a decade ago.
Group spokeswoman Dr Susan Macpherson said medical staff had outgrown their premises and visiting specialists often had trouble fitting into practices already bursting at the seams.
Other motivation for a combined centre was to strengthen the town's medical services and provide an attractive facility for doctor recruits.
"It became obvious about 10 years ago that general practitioners were leaving small-town practices, especially rural ones.
Why would a doctor stay when they could work in Christchurch or Dunedin where they clock off at 5pm each day and enjoy weekends off?" Most of Alexandra's doctors were in their 50s or 60s and the town needed younger staff for a stable medical future, she said.
A communal space was more likely to attract young recruits and it was, therefore, a necessary part of the town's growing medical infrastructure.
Laws upholding competitive business meant the existing medical services in Alexandra could not amalgamate.
Instead, the new complex will house the town's general practitioners, as they retained their business identities.
Dr Macpherson said the town's medical staff co-operated well and often supported one another through shared rosters and medical equipment.