Extending collection centre hours – pilot to improve access

Towards the end of last year, Awanui Labs implemented a pilot program extending the opening hours at the Takanini, Auckland Collection Centre, as part of the wider initiative to provide Māori and Pasifika improved access to blood testing in South Auckland.  

“Awanui Labs – Auckland is piloting this initiative as part of our commitment to bridging the gap for Māori, Pasifika and communities who are underrepresented in the health system and comes as a result of a piece of localised research.” says Area Manager Patient Services Susan Davis.  

Awanui worked with PwC to lead a series of workshops with staff, including Māori and Pasifika team members who are phlebotomists, and consulted with local health professionals and patient representatives to better understand the barriers and challenges for people in getting a blood test and informing what steps Awanui can take to address them.  

“The discussions and feedback highlighted a range of topics such as the need to build cultural competency and trust in our collection services and being more integrated with primary health care. Other issues included people not understanding the importance of getting a blood test along with practical barriers in getting to a collection centre such as time, cost, and work and whānau commitments.” 

Susan says one of the initiatives following the workshops has been to extend the operating hours of the Takanini collection centre to a seven day per week collection service, now opening at 7am through to 8pm each weekday, 8am to 4pm on Saturday and 8am to 12pm on Sunday. 

“It may not seem like a major innovation to extend opening hours, but the workshops showed us that a simple answer of opening longer and on weekend days may have a positive impact. This pilot will show us if that is the case.”  

“By opening longer, people have more time to get a blood test when it is more convenient and easier for them, they can do so outside of work hours, and when their whānau are able to be with them,” says Susan.  

Takanini was chosen as an area with a large Māori and Pasifika community and being in shopping centre with high foot traffic, offers more security for patients and staff.  

“This initiative also supports our work to connect our services and patients with GPs and medical centres and provide more information and education about blood testing and why it is important to people’s health and well-being.”  

“Our team will be looking at the results from the Takanini pilot and assessing its effectiveness for community outreach and increasing engagement and access for Māori and Pasifika. Initial outcomes are encouraging, which is positive for looking at how this model could work and be extended for other areas and communities across the region.”   

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