Public Health Services

The WDHB’s Public Health Centre is committed to working with communities to promote health and wellbeing. We provide a quality, professional service within a holistic framework.

WDHB Public Health Centre staff work towards improving the health of communities and reducing inequalities in health status for Whanganui district residents. Activities are focused around the social and physical environments in which we live, as well as on programmes to develop more healthy outcomes.

Our Public Health Centre has a number of specific service area contracts through the Ministry of Health, Whanganui District Health Board or Child, Youth and Family.

Services provided by the WDHB's Public Health Centre include:

  • Well Child - Pre-school & school health service
  • School-based nursing service
  • Pre-school and adolescent oral health promotion
  • Sexual Health Service
  • Health Promotion Service
  • Tobacco Control
  • Gateway coordination
  • Health Protection Service


WDHB Public Health Centre offices

Public Health Centre
Lambie Building
Whanganui Hospital
Ph. 06 3481775

Well Child – Pre-school and school health service


Public Health nurses visit early childhood centres and schools throughout the WDHB on a weekly to monthly basis, depending on their needs. Registered nurses, they bring a wealth of knowledge and experience by providing a free and confidential support, advice and referral service for any health-related concerns parents, caregivers or teachers may have about children in their care.

Public Health nurses focus on identifying children with health needs and coordinating any referrals, health promotion and disease prevention.

Public Health nurses:

  • work to ensure the well-being of children, young people and their families
  • advocate for children, young people and their families by working alongside their families/ whanau, school staff, allied health professionals and social agencies to ensure positive health outcomes
  • organise and deliver immunisation programmes in schools
  • follow-up children and young people who have identified hearing/vision needs
  • provide specialist nursing services to school children as required
  • provide schools and the early childhood sector with resources in planning health education and health promotion in the following programmes; health promoting schools, parenting, family violence prevention, nutrition and physical activity, tobacco control, mental health promotion, communicable disease and immunisation programmes and sexual health
  • provide specialist youth clinics in high schools and the community
  • have general linkages to public health programmes e.g. responding to emerging health events.

Referrals can be received from:

  • parents/caregivers
  • Education Services – Resource Teachers Learning and Behaviour (RTLBs), Early Childhood Centres and schools
  • Primary Health Organisations (PHOs)/General Practice Team (GPT)
  • Child Youth and Family (CYF)
  • Interagency Coordination (Strengthening Families)
  • paediatricians
  • by leaving a message for the Public Health nurse at the school office if your concern cannot wait till the nurse’s next visit.

Immunisation programmes


Public Health nurses provide school-based immunisation programmes as part of the National Immunisation Schedule:

  • Boostrix (Tetanus, Diptheria and Pertussis) is offered in Year 7
  • The HPV (human papillomavirus ) vaccine Gardasil is offered to Year 8 students.

Social worker


Public Health has one social worker who provides services to children and their families as part of the Pre-School and School Health Service Contract.

The main function of this role is to provide Social Work Services to early childhood centres and schools in accordance with the WDHB’s Social Work Policies and Procedures.

The social worker:

  • undertakes full assessments of child and family needs
  • develops detailed intervention plans aimed at addressing identified needs
  • implements and reviews social work interventions (including group work)
  • implements education and awareness programmes aimed at long-term prevention
  • identifies ongoing quality improvements in the current case management system of clients.

Hearing Vision technician


The national Vision Hearing Screening programme is designed to identify the prevalence of undetected vision and hearing problems within specific age groups in New Zealand children.

The service focuses on detecting and referring children with identified hearing and vision problems to appropriate agencies for assessment and/or intervention. This is to help minimise the impact of hearing and vision problems on a child’s overall development

The hearing vision technician visits early childhood centres and schools to screen for problems for four-year-old children as part of the B4Schools programme and again at eleven years of age in schools. Other children, can be referred to the hearing vision technician if assessment and/or treatment is required. The technician will refer on to the appropriate agencies using an identified pass/fail screening criteria.

Screening and other tests take place in registered pre-school or early childhood education centres, schools, designated clinic settings and at the WDHB’s Public Health Centre.

School based nursing service


The main aim of the school based nursing service is to improve the health outcomes and contribute to reducing inequalities for students (Years 9 – 13 years) in Decile 1 to 3 secondary schools, and alternate education facilities.

While it does not replace the services provided by the Public Health Service in schools, it does enhance current services by:

  1. providing focused time and input for students in Decile 1 to 3 secondary schools and alternate facilities
  2. improving procedures and guidelines for the case management of the students within schools to ensure access to necessary services
  3. working in partnership with schools to improve (maintain) access between high need students, their families and relevant health/social services
  4. carrying out Year 9 full health assessments
  5. increasing health promotion activity.

Sexual Health Service


This is a free service promoting positive sexual health to help reduce the incidence of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV/AIDS in Whanganui.

Sexual health staff provide:

  • a free and confidential service for everyone
  • testing and treatment of sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
  • Phlebotomy services

Sexual health clinics

  • Whanganui Hospital Outpatients Clinic – Mondays and Thursdays, 5pm to 6pm
  • Ohakune in the Ngati Rangi Community Health Centre – Fortnightly on Fridays by appointment.
  • Waimarino Health Centre in Raetihi – Fortnightly on Fridays by appointment. .
  • Youth Services Trust - Wednesdays, 1pm to 2.30pm by appointment.

Staff can be contacted outside clinic hours through the Public Health Centre (06 348 1775) or by contacting the Public Health nurse at the Waimarino Health Centre (06 3855019).

Gateway Assessment Services


Gateway Assessment Services, announced in Budget 2011 is an interagency programme between Child, Youth and Family, and the health and education sectors. It builds on the work and findings of a two-year pilot project.

The Gateway Assessment Service is a comprehensive health and education screening service for children and young people who go into the care of the Child, Youth and Family Service.

A gateway assessment process is used to gather information from Child, Youth and Family, education and health helps identify ways the three services can work together to ensure the health and education needs of the child or young person are identified and addressed in the wider context of their care and protection needs.

The service is coordinated by a Gateway coordinator with assessments carried out by a paediatrician.


Health Protection Services


Health Protection Officers (HPOs) and Medical Officers of Health (MOsH) are health professionals employed by DHBs who protect public health by ensuring public health risks are identified and managed, enforcing public health legislation, investigating public health concerns and providing advice and information to the public, agencies and organisations. 


Although employed by MidCentral Health, we are part of the team at the Whanganui Public Health Centre and provide the health protection service to the people within the WDHB region.  We are supported by the Health Protection team in Palmerston North.


HPOs and MOsH are involved in:


  • Biosecurity and quarantine
  • Built environments and housing
  • Burial and cremation
  • Contaminated land
  • Communicable diseases and outbreaks
  • Drinking water quality
  • Early childhood centres
  • Environmental health (air quality, climate change, urban development, noise, etc)
  • Food safety
  • Hazardous substances (chemicals, lead, asbestos, poisons, etc).
  • Public health emergencies and civil defence
  • Radiation protection
  • Resource management issues
  • Sale and supply of alcohol
  • Sewage treatment and disposal
  • Smokefree environments
  • Testing of materials – lead in paint and asbestos in building materials
  • Waste management


Public Health Unit location:  Level 2, Lambie Building, Whanganui Hospital.

Contact: 06 3481775 or email:

For urgent calls after hours please call Whanganui Hospital on 06 348 1234 and ask that the on-call Health Protection Officer is paged.