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Ministry of Health welcomes new taskforce chairman

21 July 2004

Ministry of Health welcomes new taskforce chairman

Canterbury public health physician Winston McKean has been appointed to lead a sector taskforce working to help implement one of the Government's top health strategies.

Director-General of Health Dr Karen Poutasi said today she was delighted to confirm Dr McKean's appointment as chairman of the Primary Health Care Strategy and PHO Development Taskforce.

``The taskforce brings together a wide range of groups concerned about primary health care. Newly appointed chair Dr McKean brings a wealth of experience with him, both as a public health specialist and as a respected senior public health sector administrator with many years standing.

``In addition to this, he is also the chairman of Rural Canterbury Primary Health Organisation (PHO), which means he is well placed to help link the primary care and population/public health philosophies that are crucial to the Primary Health Care Strategy.''

The taskforce was established earlier this year with representatives from more than a dozen different groups. It will help the Ministry and District Health Boards implement the Primary Health Care Strategy through the development of PHOs, and will also provide strategic advice to the Ministry's Deputy Director-General of Clinical Services Directorate.

Dr Poutasi said the Ministry wanted to work with the primary health care sector to ensure that learning and experience gained so far is shared across the sector.

``It's two years since the first PHOs were formed and we now have about 3.57 million people covered by 73 PHOs around the country. We believe PHOs have a real potential to help us improve the health of all New Zealanders. Health Minister Annette King has just announced the plan to make primary health care more affordable for all New Zealanders in PHOs by 2007. The taskforce is well positioned to assist the sector to fully realise and develop the potential of PHOs.''

Dr McKean said he believed the taskforce would make valuable contributions to future PHO development.

``The taskforce will identify successful outcomes for the strategy, then advise on implementation and the priority for new initiatives. It will also act as a focal point for all interested groups, so ensuring the strategy progresses in a co-ordinated and manageable fashion.''

He said the Primary Health Care Strategy has set the foundation for a new focus in primary care.

``It encourages PHOs to take initiatives, in liaison with other community agencies, to keep their enrolled populations healthy.

``For the first time, the strategy also involves communities working with their local general practice and related services,'' he said. The next taskforce meeting is on August 19.

Dr Winston McKean can be contacted for further information on 03 304-8428.

Background The groups represented on the taskforce are: Healthcare Aotearoa The Independent Practitioners' Association Nurse Development Group The New Zealand Medical Association The Royal NZ College of General Practitioners First Health Non-Government Organisations The College of Nurses Aotearoa Health Pacifica Doctors The New Zealand Nurses Organisation The Pharmaceutical Society of NZ Rural Canterbury PHO The Independent Practitioners' Association Council of NZ Te Kupenga A Kahumatamomoe (Kahu) Trust District Health Boards Te Tumu Whakaraae, Waikato DHB The Ministry of Health

ENDS


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