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DHB breaks new ground with Tu Meke

09 February 2005

DHB breaks new ground with Tu Meke-First Choice Maori health alliance

At its February Board meeting, Hawke’s Bay District Health Board passed a resolution to support a health alliance between Te Taiwhenua O Heretaunga, a Maori Health Service provider with support from Pacific groups and Totara Health a GP practice, to form a unique relationship with the Hawke’s Bay District Health Board (HBDHB) and the existing Hawke’s Bay Primary Health Organisation (HBPHO)

Board chair, Kevin Atkinson, said while the Board is committed to retaining a single Primary Health Organisation (PHO) to cover the wider Napier, Hastings and Central Hawke’s Bay area (as per the Board’s decision in 2003) it would welcome the alliance, to be known as Te Meke – First Choice, to establish itself as a ‘community of interest’

This means it would work collaboratively with the existing HBPHO, while retaining independence. Its focus would be on involving the community in determining health needs and developing strategies that would meet those needs. The alliance would then apply for targeted Services to Improve Access (SIA) funding to fund its initiatives to improve the health of high need populations.

SIA funding must be used on specific services which improve access to primary (first-level) health care for populations with high health need (such as GPs or Maori health clinics).

“It’s important we get maximum health gain for every dollar spent, and we simply cannot approve another stand-alone Primary Health Organisation, which would require its own administrative function, information systems and associated overhead costs. This is one of the key reasons the Board voted to have a single PHO.

“Boosting primary care, and improving access for people with high needs is crucial if we are to improve the health of Hawke’s Bay families. Effective use of primary care services should have the flow-on effect of reducing the need for more costly secondary (hospital-level) care.

The DHB has requested that Tu Meke - First Choice form a close working relationship and develop strong links with the Hawke’s Bay Primary Health Organisation, with a view to exploring options for shared services in the future and developing a joint approach to some services.

The Board will be reviewing the effectiveness of the Hawke’s Bay Primary Health Organisation, the Wairoa PHO and Tu Meke - First Choice at the beginning of 2006, and and a report will be presented to a Board meeting in the first half of next year.


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