The Fono

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Reducing Health Inequality

Although his father is a GP (general practitioner) Dr Jono Hoogerbrug had no grand schemes to become one himself while growing up on Auckland’s North Shore. However as he followed his passion for science and maths he found the best combination of the two came in the form of medicine, eventually landing him at The Fono.

“At university I was considering medicine and I thought ‘well I like science, and I like people so I’ll give it a crack’.”

Jono followed his interest to Otago Medical School for three years before another three years at the clinical school in Wellington. He then worked at Tauranga Hospital for three years.

“I wanted to do paediatrics for a while and did the paediatrics diploma and found I really loved working with kids.

“I then learned a little bit more about general practice and realised that it was actually probably a better fit, so here I am.”

The Fono was the second practice Jono was placed on during his first year of GP registrar training, where he found that everyone was helpful, welcoming and had their door open for him when he needed the help.

“They really helped me navigate the space when I was still learning quite a lot, and even still do now,” he laughs.

The welcoming and open nature, and caring culture, is what enticed him to The Fono in the first place.

He says he really appreciates the team environment that means no one doctor is operating in a silo.

“There’s a whole team around a patient, from reception to the nursing staff, social workers, and dental team.

“All these people are working together and then you’ve got all the doctors as well, so it’s a nice team environment.”

However it wasn’t just the staff that have made a lasting impression on Jono. The patients have too.

Jono has found that the longer he has worked at The Fono, the more he has begun to know his patients.

“They’re really down to earth, kind, humble people and I feel like you can make quite a difference to their lives.

“There are quite a lot of people who are struggling out here so it’s nice to be a part of their healthcare provision.”

Jono is aware of the challenges many of his patients face beyond medical care which he is glad The Fono is equipped to handle, providing affordable care.

Jono has discovered there are lots of facets to helping patients beyond their physical needs, and one of them is being able to access the quality care that The Fono has to offer.

“I enjoy the challenge that medicine offers, but I know it’s not one dimensional. It’s examining the whole picture from mental health, spiritual-wellbeing, family, social environment, housing, support services, all those sorts of things.

“I feel like as doctors we can make some of the biggest gains for the person in front of us if we’re advocating for something that’s not necessarily clinical related.”

It is all part of being in The Fono medical team, and every day Jono is learning something new.

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Dr Jono Hoogerbrug 

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