Tauranga Eye Specialists expands
Dr Mike and Chantal O’Rourke, William and his father Dr Andrew Thompson and Drs Mark Fajgenbaum and Mark Saunders at the Papamoa clinic building site

Tauranga Eye Specialists expands

June 25, 2023 Staff reporters

Driven by strong population growth in the Bay of Plenty, Tauranga Eye Specialists is expanding with a new two-theatre clinic expected to open in Papamoa early next year.


With no opportunity to develop its existing site, Tauranga Eye Specialists opted to open the new satellite clinic in the fast-growing suburb, offering easy access for surrounding areas, said Dr Andrew Thompson. Having the public contract for ophthalmology in the Bay of Plenty means the demand on the current Park Street facility is huge, said general manager Kim Downs. “Operationally, it’s a challenge, making sure we have enough consulting rooms and theatre space to deliver services to an increasing population.”


Setting up a new clinic also offered the team an opportunity to review its current practices and tweak how things are done, said Downs. “Because we run the public contract and our private services in the same facilities, the new clinic brings a real opportunity for us to create a point of difference for our public and private patient experiences. Once settled, the Papamoa clinic can then become the blueprint for the Park Street clinic ensuring both are aligned.”


Initially, the Papamoa clinic will ease operational pressure from the Park Street clinic and offer the same services, but long-term, “we will be limited by our imagination in terms of how we can utilise that site and build our business further”, said Downs. “It’s a big project and a massively brave undertaking by the doctors and I’m really excited to be a part of this.”


Established in 1998, Tauranga Eye Specialists’ team includes Drs Cheefoong Chong, Kent Chow, Sam Kain, Mark Saunders, Mark Fajgenbaum and Andrew Thompson. Dr Thompson said it is likely the team will need to bring in more ophthalmologists to support growing demand in the region in the not-too-distant future.