The Hibiscus Coast is blossoming into a vibrant commercial and residential hub, and the recently opened Silverdale Medical Centre is providing for the health needs of its growing population

Thanks to a significant investment in roading and infrastructure, and the increasing appeal of living outside the busy city, the former Rodney district is now one of New Zealand’s fastest growing areas.

The township of Silverdale has taken off and it’s set to become the commercial heart of the Hibiscus Coast with development worth hundreds of millions of dollars currently taking place. The town centre has been redeveloped with a large new retail centre to cater to the needs of the existing residents and an estimated 10,000 people who will eventually move into the nearby 3000-section Millwater housing development.

Naturally, the medical facilities in the area have had to keep pace with this growth, and December 2012 saw the opening of the new purpose-built Silverdale Medical Centre. Designed by Warren and Mahoney architects, the multimillion dollar two-level facility sits on the corner of the Hibiscus Coast Highway and Millwater Parkway. It provides a mix of primary care services all on one site and includes traditional general practice and family medicine with additional expertise in accident and urgent medical care. The ground level also houses an on-site pharmacy as well as radiology, physiotherapy and dentistry services. These are complemented by a number of specialist clinics for asthma, diabetes, lung-function testing, family planning, musculoskeletal medicine, sports medicine and hearing testing, among others. Visiting specialists also provide clinics in cardiology, midwifery, gynaecology, orthopaedics and spinal surgery, dermatology and ENT.

The building’s second floor has been leased by Southern Cross Hospitals, which has plans to build four day-stay operating theatres there.

What sets the new Silverdale Medical Centre apart from others in the region, says GP and part owner Dr Warren Groarke, is that it offers extended hours, highly qualified staff and a comprehensive range of services, making the centre a true one-stop shop for the medical needs of the local community.

“We provide a gold-standard general practice service as well as a variety of GP special-interest areas” he says.

Dr Groarke and his three colleagues from the original Silverdale Medical Centre – Alison Sorley, Martin Denby and Marcus Platts-Mills – have joined forces with GPs Andrew Webster and Kirsty Laws from the Red Beach Family Medical Centre to form Silverdale Medical Ltd. The company owns an 80 per cent stake of the Silverdale Medical Partnership (SMP), which focuses on the business side of the centre. The remaining 20 per cent stake of SMP has been sold to Southern Cross Primary Care (SCPC). It’s the first partnership of its kind between a general practice and SCPC, which is part of the not-for-profit Southern Cross Healthcare Group and operates independently from the Southern Cross Hospitals and insurance businesses.

Dr Groarke and his colleagues had been in separate discussions with Southern Cross Hospitals about building a new home for the Silverdale Medical Centre. The new facility, with a construction cost of $8.8 million (excluding the fit-out), is also part owned by Southern Cross Hospitals. “The relationship developed four years ago when both organisations [Southern Cross Hospitals and SMP] realised that there was a need for a larger medical facility in Silverdale, especially with the substantial increase in property building and population occurring on the Hibiscus Coast” says Dr Groarke.

When it came to attracting tenants for the new facility, Dr Groarke says interest was strong from many providers. To ensure the right mix, the selection criteria involved careful assessment of their professional and financial capabilities as well as consideration of the need to provide a team that would work constructively together.

Dr Groarke admits that getting the centre up and running was a sometimes slow and frustrating process, but it’s provided some useful learnings and has been well worth the effort.

“Always keep the end in sight!” he says. “It’s also important to develop a network of professionals, politicians and interested parties, especially from the local community, at an early stage.”

Hayes Knight is among the professionals that have been helping Dr Groarke and his colleagues get Silverdale Medical Centre set up and keep it running smoothly.

“Hayes Knight have been involved with us for approximately two years, and came highly recommended after Marcus Platts- Mills had worked with them extensively at the Skin Institute,” says Dr Groarke. “They’ve helped structure the organisations and provide financial advice to us and the banks, allowing us to raise and structure capital in the most advantageous way.”

“We quickly developed a close relationship with the staff and partners at Hayes Knight. They’ve been responsive to our needs, and have given us accurate and timely advice.”

Hayes Knight tax director Phil Barlow has been working with the Silverdale Medical Practice directors in a number of areas, including structuring advice, the preparation of financial accounts, filing income tax returns, and compliance, as well as any day-to-day enquiries.

“We’ve been actively involved from the beginning and kept a keen eye on the building progress. In the latter stages we assisted with tax issues associated with securing tenants,” says Barlow. “There have been a few changes recently to the legislation around the taxation of lease inducement payments offered by commercial landlords, and this is an area we’ve been working on with SMP.”

Silverdale Medical Centre mainly services those living on the Hibiscus Coast and the Whangaparaoa Peninsula, but its patients come from as far afield as Helensville, Warkworth, the North Shore and even Auckland.

Dr Groarke says the response to the new centre has been really favourable from the majority of their patients. But, a is the case with anything new, some have taken time to familiarise themselves with the new building and the merged teams now working in it.

The centre’s standing in the healthcare sector has been recognised with Cornerstone Accreditation, the gold-standard quality programme of the Royal New Zealand College of General Practice.

Silverdale Medical