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Tu Meke-First Choice PHO proposal green-lighted

HBDHB Board gives Tu Meke-First Choice PHO proposal the green light

At today’s monthly board meeting Hawke’s Bay District Health Board members unanimously agreed to approve Tu Meke-First Choice to become established as a Primary Health Organisation (PHO). It is the 80th PHO to be established in New Zealand.

Board chair, Kevin Atkinson, said today’s decision revisited an earlier board decision made in February 2005, when the Tu Meke proposal was first considered.

Mr Atkinson said there were a number of reasons behind the Board’s change of heart. “The overall picture has changed in the past six months,” he said. “The Ministry of Health have reviewed and increased the management fees for smaller Primary Health Organisations, and this was certainly a sticking point when the Board assessed the Tu Meke proposal earlier in the year.

“Our Treaty partner, Ngati Kahungunu Iwi Incorporated has been actively involved in discussions with Tu Meke over the past few months; and importantly, the Tu Meke partners have been in discussions with the Hawke’s Bay Primary Health Organisation and are developing arrangements for shared services.

“Earlier concerns about duplication of services, provision of 24 hour/7 day a week GP services for enrolled patients and money going in to administrative overheads have been addressed, and I am therefore delighted this revamped proposal has been given the thumbs up by the Board.

It is expected that the Tu Meke – First Choice Primary Health Organisation would be up and running by October 2005.

Partners involved in the Tu Meke Proposal include Te Taiwhenua O Heretaunga, a Maori health and social services provider, Totara Health, a GP practice and a Pacific Island Community provider. Tu Meke is open to other providers joining the PHO in the future.

Tu Meke – First-Choice will provide front-line health care services to the mainly-Maori west Hastings district. Tu Meke-First Choice is expected to have an enrolled population of 12,000 people, mainly Maori, Pacific and high-needs.

Spokesperson for the group, Tu Meke member and General Manager of Te Taiwhenua O Heretaunga, Alayna Watene, said she was absolutely delighted that years of ground work had finally come to fruition with today’s Board decision. “It’s been a long journey, and the hard work is just beginning – the operational aspects are huge,” she said.

“While our enrolled PHO population is expected to be around 12,000, we’ll be ‘punching above our weight’ and aim to influence the health and well-being of over 20,000 high needs people, through health promotion and education programmes.

“Improving access to services was a priority, and the Services to Improve Access funding would be put to good use in strategies that would make a difference.

“We’ll be involving our communities and working with them to break down the barriers to accessing services,” she said. “We’ve now got a future in delivering the Primary Healthcare Strategy, and know we can make a positive difference. Today’s decision is very good news for Maori and Pacific Island people in Hawke’s Bay,” Alayna Watene said.


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