Pak'nSave a life - O'Sullivan proposes mobile health services while you shop

By D'Angelo Martin

AUT Māori entrepreneur-in-residence and Moko Foundation founder, Dr Lance O'Sullivan has announced a bold plan to roll out drive-through health clinics with the aim of making medical support as accessible as possible. 

The former New Zealander of the Year aims to open an estimated 200 privately-funded mobile clinics by the year 2020.  

"I was in Kaitaia two weeks ago, and I woke up at 3am in the morning and said to myself 'this is it, this is what needs to be done'," he says, "I was thinking to myself, 'how can I change the approach to healthcare?'. 

The locations of the clinics are yet to be confirmed but O'Sullivan hopes to locate them in popular areas such as supermarkets and grocery stores. 

"I'm hoping to locate these clinics at places such as Pak'nSave.  The staff will ask and analyse your situation and what you need from them, they will advise you to go and finish off your grocery shopping then come back and we will provide you the medication that's needed."

O'Sullivan realizes that this initiative will come with challenges, but he remains optimistic. 

He has already traveled to China to buy the first of the proposed clinics and announced his plans last night at an AUT public lecture.

"At this stage, we've only just brought one of the drive-thru clinics from China.  Next year, depending on the success of this, we're wanting to go back to maybe buy a hundred."

The initiative will be privately funded and developed over time and will be run by community health workers and nurses.  People will have access to GPs when needed and clinics will operate in areas with high health needs.

"My biggest aspiration is for Māori to look after Māori when it comes to health.  My main goal for these mobile clinics is to have our Māori people running these places."

The first clinic will be up and running in Rotorua by September 2019, followed by a second clinic in Kaitaia in November.