North Shore’s new medical centre designed to be ‘unmedical’

Fifteen years ago North Shore GP  Peter Boot bought a piece of land in Albany and dreamed of building a state-of-the art medical centre that smelled more of coffee and fresh baking than medical chemicals.

After years of research, observation and planning, that dream came to fruition in the form of Northcare Accident & Medical, officially opened this week by the Minister of Health, Jonathan Coleman.

Boot’s dream was to create a family-friendly centre that was full of light, soft music and artwork, and offered an impressive range of medical services, GPs, nurses and specialists under one roof.

The new seven-day medical centre offers urgent care and emergency facilities, doctors, high-tech  imaging and x-rays, physiotherapists, dentists, laboratory collection, hand specialists, ear, nose and throat and audiology professionals, the Skin Institute clinic, and other specialists including renal, respiratory and sleep, spinal and orthopaedic services.

With more than 20 years’ experience as a North Shore GP, running the Albany Basin Accident and Medical Centre, he knew doctors’ rooms and medical centres could be intimidating for anxious patients and young children and was determined to make Northcare “unmedical” and stress free.   

Incorporated into Northcare’s spacious, airy foyer is Remedy café – the source of the coffee and baking smell – and a seven-day pharmacy. Patients’ prescriptions can be sent electronically to the pharmacist who will already have received them by the time the consultations are over.

Boot has been involved in every detail of Northcare’s design, with the help of his old Takapuna beach canoeing friend Allan Shanahan, of Shanahan Architects. The result is a three-level, 1650 sq m modernist building, a combination of edgy industrial design combined with cedar panels for a more homely feel.  

Inside, an illuminated “forest” of birds and trees that change colour lights up the foyer, and pieces of artwork are displayed on walls that, in past years, would have featured medical posters.

Now that the centre is open, Boot will continue to focus on new innovations that will make patients’ lives easier. Patients can already book online but next up will be the ability to log personal and medical details remotely – from a mobile phone while riding on a bus or train – so there will be no need for form-filling at the clinic.

“This medical centre is something that I’ve thought about and worked on for years,” Dr Boot said. We’re thrilled with the result. The atmosphere is great and patients just love it.”

Northcare Accident & Medical, at 5 Home Place off Constellation Drive, is open seven days a week, 8am to 6.30pm. Ph (09) 479 7770

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