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Carefirst was founded in October 2000 by GPs, Dr Alison Gadsby, Dr Michelle Todd, Dr Geoff Putt and Dr Geoff Tvrdeich. Previously known at the Westown Medical Group they had owned and operated individual practices within the old Westown Medical Centre building on Tukapa St. As young doctors looking to the future of General Practice, they realised a team approach would enable them to provide better services for their patients in a sustainable way. As a cohesive unit they immediately introduced an Urgent Care (walk-in) clinic, a first for general practice in Taranaki.
By September 2001 Stage 1 of the current Westown Medical Centre building was completed with 9 clinical rooms and a minor theatre along with on-site radiology and pharmacy. Within the new centre Travel Medicine, Ear Suction and Skin Cancer services, including NAEVUS mole mapping were all introduced.
To meet demand, Stage 2 was completed in 2008, providing additional clinical rooms along with dedicated areas for Urgent Care, Skin Cancer, our Visiting Cardiology, General Surgery and Plastic Surgery Specialists as well as on-site physiotherapy.
Carefirst purchased Dr David Sampson’s General Practice in 2013 and this has grown to become the multi-doctor Merrilands Medical Centre on Mangorei Rd.
2016 saw Happy Feet Podiatry services based in the Westown and Merrilands Medical Centres and in 2017 Carefirst purchased Dr Ian Smiley’s General Practice in Moturoa. With purchase of the next-door TSB building the Moturoa Medical Centre will move in to purpose-built rooms in early 2022.
Additionally in 2017, Carefirst was instrumental in setting up Skin Centre Taranaki on Powderham St with particular focus on Skin Cancer. In 2020 Carefirst’s Westown based Skin Cancer services amalgamated with Skin Centre Taranaki.
The Carefirst partnership has grown and changed over the years to now include nine partners. The Carefirst group of practices employ almost 80 staff including 20 doctors, a GP nurse practitioner, 25 nurses, 3 HCAs, 3 Radiographers and 20 administration/reception staff and 5 members of the senior leadership team including HR and finance. In 2018 a new Carefirst board was formed with an independent Chair, a permanent Chief Executive Officer was appointed in 2019.
Carefirst is contracted by Pinnacle Midlands Health Network to provide government funded General Practice services on a capitated basis. Westown, Merrilands and Moturoa Medical Centres collectively care for more than 20,000 patients across the Taranaki region.
All of our staff are focused on providing excellent patient care and service. Our values are Respect, Clinical Excellence, Empathy, Teamwork and Sustainability.
We care about your health and wellbeing, our goal is to provide excellent primary care services to our patients.