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GP Agreement on 18-24 year olds

8 June 2005

GP Agreement on 18-24 year old GP consultation subsidy

We are pleased to be able to report that your assistance in withholding fees information from the DHB’s has been instrumental in helping us gain agreement with the Ministry of Health over the roll-out of the 18-24 patient subsidy.

After a sometimes tense three week period of discussion and negotiation, we have secured three major acknowledgments:

1) We have established a format for continuing consultation between all national organisations representing General Practice and Dr Karen Poutasi and senior staff from the Ministry of Health every six weeks. These meetings will enable us to be involved in influencing all matters concerning general practice and the primary health care sector. They will ensure that the MOH can understand the value and perspective of general practice, and that we can have involvement on Ministry plans early in their development.

2) PHO’s may provide DHBs with encrypted fees data (ie. practices are not identified) so long as PHO’s show the DHB the named practice information.

3) DHB’s can no longer choose to withhold the subsidy from a specific general practice. It is now up to PHO’s whether the increased funding will apply only to individual practices that are able to demonstrate acceptable flow through, or to the PHO once all their practices can demonstrate acceptable flow through.

We have accepted their request that GPs notify PHO’s of their fees for over 65 year olds. The agreement means that from 1 July this year, 18-24 year old patients will benefit from the lower charges in Interim funded general practices which have received the increased funding. It is particularly important to us that while we have acknowledged the need to demonstrate to the Government that their subsidy is being properly passed on, the Government has in turn recognised that clinical and business autonomy is important to general practice for viability and sustainability. This includes the right to set our own fees.

You can be assured that this major principle of autonomy for viability will form the core of our approach to our input on matters discussed at the new regular meetings with the Ministry of Health.

We trust you will agree that the concerns we raised with you by red letter three weeks ago have been satisfactorily resolved.

We therefore ask that you now resume provision of the fees information required for the 18-24 funding increase to your PHO.

Although we hope not to need to make such a call again in the future, this incident demonstrates the success we can have by pulling together as a sector when the situation demands it.

Yours sincerely Dr Doug Baird Chair IPAC Dr Peter Foley Chair GP Council NZMA Dr Jim Vause President RNZCGP Dr Tim Malloy Chair RGPN

ENDS


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