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All Hawke’s Bay region now covered by PHOs

MEDIA RELEASE

6 October 2003

All Hawke’s Bay region now covered by Primary Health Organisations

Hawke’s Bay District Health Board chief executive, Chris Clarke, said he was absolutely thrilled that as of 1 October, most Hawke’s Bay people were covered by a Primary Health Organisation (PHO).

“The Wairoa PHO was launched on 1 January this year, and the Hawke’s Bay PHO which covers the Napier, Hastings and Central Hawke’s Bay areas is up and running from today.

“While the introduction of the new PHO won’t bring about any immediate change for most people living in Hastings, Napier or Central Hawke’s Bay, those whose GP practice is deemed to be in a high need/lower income area will benefit by lower GP fees. There are four such GP practices in the new PHO: two in Hastings, one in Flaxmere and one in Maraenui.

“In the longer term, new money invested in primary health care will be directed to PHOs, who will have more say over what the health priorities are for people in their community. Being responsible for an enrolled population, and having more information about each patient will allow PHOs to focus their efforts on specific health needs. There will be more emphasis on education and preventive activities, and a more holistic approach can be taken when families/whanau are enrolled with one PHO.

The Hawke’s Bay PHO is an umbrella organisation, bringing together 90 GPs and three Maori providers. All providers will continue to operate from their own premises, but will work cooperatively with other health care providers to provide the best healthcare to the people enrolled with their practice.

“One of positive benefits of the establishment of this PHO has already taken place, and that’s been the improved communication and working relationship between all of the providers involved, and this has provided a firm foundation for future development.

“By investing more funds into front line community-based care, the need for more expensive secondary or hospital care will decrease over time,” Chris Clarke said. “By having the right services, in the right place, at the right time, and at the right price, issues around accessibility and affordability for people with high needs will, in time, be overcome.

“While I recognise it takes time to build effective multidisciplinary teams, the introduction of the Hawke’s Bay PHO today puts us in a very good position to develop more effective primary health services in the future,” Chris Clarke said.

END

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