The Fono

Health & Social Services

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Making Peoples’ Lives Better

General Practitioner Doctor Raina Elley enjoys a varied clientele at the affordable Fono Central clinic in Auckland city, where she has taken on a more permanent role after two years working as a locum Doctor. It suits the Wellington-born Doctor with her dual-role as an academic at the University of Auckland’s Medical School and allows her to treat a wide spectrum of patients.

Dr Raina Elley developed a deep appreciation for all things Pacific when she moved with her parents to Suva, Fiji for a year.

It was at the tail-end of her secondary school education. She attended the University of South Pacific for her foundation studies before returning to New Zealand.

Upon returning home Dr Raina did an arts degree at Massey University and become heavily involved in the Pacific Island students’ society.

It made her feel at home having just returned from Fiji where her parents were still living, before attending medical school at the University of Auckland.

Upon graduating she became a rural GP, as her partner was a farmer, before becoming an academic at the University of Auckland, where she continues to complete research as an Associate Professor.

But the desire to return to practice grew.

“I decided about two years ago that I wanted to do more general practice and less academic work,” says Dr Elley who was locuming, not just at The Fono but at a Maori health provider on the city fringe.

After spending six weeks in Tonga volunteering at a village mission clinic in 2016, she decided she wanted to spend more time at The Fono to provide a greater continuity of care to patients.

With more than 15 years of practicing, as well as academia, Dr Elley strives to provide nothing but the best care possible to The Fono’s inner city patients.

“I have various criteria … and one of them is the preference to work at low-cost practices with high-needs people … and I have an association with Pacific culture … but I also want to be within one bus ride from home or be able to bike to work,” she adds with a laugh.

The Fono meets her criteria in allowing her to treat a whole spectrum of people that come through its doors every day, “from refugees and immigrants, to business people and tertiary students … as well as some pretty unfortunate people who’ve had a hard life”.

Some stories break her heart, but she believes The Fono offers the best services possible for everyone that comes through the doors, not just Pacific.

“I like the fact that this clinic charges a lower amount, so people can often afford to pay.”

And for a wide spectrum of people The Fono offers a whole spectrum of services.

“One of the best things we can do for patients who may not have adequate family support is offer social services on top of medical care,” she says.

“We try to accommodate them and it’s why I chose The Fono … we aim to help make peoples’ lives better.”

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