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New Contract For Improving Sexual Health

New Contract For Improving Sexual Health Targets High Risk Groups

THE sexual and reproductive health of high risk groups will be improved following a new contract between the Ministry of Health and the Family Planning Association.

Dr David Lambie, Ministry of Health Deputy Director-General, Personal and Family Health, said the new contract will ensure thousands of New Zealanders continued to have access to free consultations with the Family Planning Association.

"This is very good news as the Family Planning Association is a major provider of primary sexual health and family planning services. The new contract ensures that high risk clients and young people in particular will continue to receive free services from the FPA".

Family Planning Association Acting Executive Director Patricia Logan said it was good to have the new contract in place.

"It is vital that the service provided by the Family Planning Association is sustainable. FPA promotes a positive view of sexuality, informed choice and access to accurate information and quality sexuality and reproductive health services - and it is free to the people who need this service the most".

The new contract followed a contract review earlier this year, which identified the need for changes to ensure the sustainability of services. A key change relates to the eligibility of clients for free consultation.

Free consultations from FPA will now be available throughout the country for all people under 22 and people over 22 who hold a community services card. Previously people under 25 and those over 25 with a community services card were entitled to free consultation.

Dr Lambie said the under 22 years of age criteria brings the contract closer in line with other providers of free primary sexual and reproductive health services. It is also targeting the age group where the FPA can make the most impact.

"The Ministry wants to improve sexual and reproductive health of high risk groups in particular. We know that young people, Maori and Pacific people are at risk of higher rates of terminations, unwanted pregnancies and some sexually transmitted infections. By ensuring free access to services for people under 22 years old and all community services card holders we believe we have appropriately prioritised the limited funding for these services."

Family Planning Association's services to fee-paying clients will not be affected by the changes.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Health is developing the first comprehensive sexual and reproductive health strategy (S&RHS) for New Zealand. It is concerned about the rates of abortion, teenage pregnancy and sexually transmissible infections (STI). Reducing these will be a priority.

ENDS

For more information contact Hayley Brock, Media Advisor (04)496 2115, 025 495 989

Jan Keir-Smith, Communications Coordinator Family Planning Association (04) 384 4349, 021 915 107

Questions and Answers

What was the original contract? In September 2000 the former Health Funding Authority agreed to a national personal health contract with the Family Planning Association (FPA) to deliver primary sexual and reproductive health services nationally, workforce training nationally and school-linked clinics in Auckland.

The two-year contract came into place on 1 October 2000.

Why was the contract reviewed? The HFA agreed at the time to a six-month review of the contract to ensure that FPA were capable of delivering the volume of consults purchased in an efficient and sustainable manner. The review was completed in March 2001.

What were its findings? It signalled the need for the contract to be reworked to ensure the on-going sustainability of the services being delivered.

What happened next? The Ministry of Health met with FPA regularly over the past three months to negotiate a review of the contract. The Ministry of Health agreed to fund a price increase but for it to do so the provider had to reduce its volume. Therefore the access criteria for free consultations was reduced to under 22 years of age. The Ministry of Health has agreed to fund an additional $500,000 to cover the increase in price.

How many Family Planning Association clinics are there around New Zealand? The Family Planning Association operates clinical services from 32 centres nationwide with an additional 30 outreach clinics, and 14 education centres. The contracted volume for personal health clinical consultancy is just under 116,500 free consultations nationally per annum.

What is the role of the Family Planning Association? The Family Planning Association promotes a positive view of sexuality, informed choice and access to accurate information and quality sexuality and reproductive health services.

Ends


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