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PHONZ Firmly Behind Direction Of The Phc Strategy

PHONZ Firmly Behind Direction Of The Phc Strategy

May 24 2006

PHONZ is unequivocally in favour of the PHC Strategy, its key goals and the 2005-2010 roll out, including the July 1 funding increase, following direct consultation with constituent PHOs representing a range of providers and communities.

“At the moment”, says PHONZ Chair Sir Ronald Scott, “it is the only definitive strategy on the table that treats all New Zealanders as equals when accessing primary health care.

“As a nation we should be concerned at trends in chronic disease statistics. The health system is not the culprit. Cause factors are changing life styles and other pre-dispositions. If the ethic still prevails that patients come first then New Zealand’s health system should surely adjust to the new realties.

“Many New Zealanders, of which I’m one, have long enjoyed a proficient primary health service of business-based private practices. However, for various reasons, one of which is cost, too many in need shy away from visiting a GP or delay until it is too late. The situation is being exacerbated by current health trends.

“That alone raises universal access above the level of fundamental rights to that of national self interest. Not because taxpayers pay a slice of the bill. It’s what caring, sophisticated societies should do and why the ongoing PHC Strategy now adds the 45-64 age group to others whose GP visits are already subsidised.

PHONZ is well aware many GPs are concerned about the viable sustainability of their practices and the rights they need to retain to increase fees and cope with rising costs under the fees review process under consideration.

“PHONZ is also very aware the workforce of GPs, nurses and other providers is irreplaceable. It is the frontline of primary health. The rest is mainly infrastructure.

“Providers must recover costs to remain viable and protect their investment. PHONZ regards those as givens. It is why it is advocating measures to ensure processes are robust and provide for contracted, professional, independent third parties (such as a KPMG Peat Marwick, Deloittes, Pricewaterhouse Coopers) to provide the factual financial data as the basis for setting fee adjustments.

“To satisfy themselves about the substance of the proposed review process, it would be worthwhile for GPs, who have not done so, to acquire BOTH the key fees documents, (a) the Schedule 4 Fees Level Policy (b) the Fees Review Committee Referenced Doc, or discuss them with their own financial advisers.

“Matters of the moment are again distracting focus away from the major, big picture primary health issues of our times:

(a) total health work-force sustainability
(b) delivery of effective preventive health initiatives.

“Achieving workforce sustainability may well require a radical new approach, top to bottom. PHONZ will champion that cause on behalf of 4,000,000 patients.

“Of equal strategic importance is the need for practical, preventive health initiatives that encourage and/or reward healthier life styles. That’s a second PHONZ priority cause.

“Life long initiatives, beginning from infancy, in our view should be high profile, driven and promoted nationally by the combined resources of Health, Education and SPARC. To ensure effectiveness delivery should involve local agencies including PHOs, GP’s other health providers, play centres, schools, Maori, Pacific Island communities and especially families.

“Providers need viable sustainability. Patients need immediate and affordable access: and to be coaxed, persuaded or rewarded into healthy life styles.

PHONZ offers a pragmatic option for those who share aspirations for a primary heath system geared to these changing realities.

“Most people in positions of leadership accept there are no solutions. Only choices: to resist change; or manage change.

“PHONZ is a rallying point and a filter for those who wish to influence change for the betterment of everyone. The PHC Strategy provides a primary health window. Those who wish to contribute should take advantage and step forward.”


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