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Food, healthcare basic in civilised countries

27 August 2006

Food and healthcare are basic rights in civilised countries

“There should never need to be a trade off between food and healthcare,” says Dr Jonathan Fox, President of the College of GPs. “Both are basic rights in any civilised country”.

Dr Fox was commenting on the Minister of Health’s announcement of an additional $43 million investment in high-need general practices. The Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners welcomed news of the Government’s continuing investment in the primary healthcare sector.

“Ensuring patients have no financial barriers to accessing general practice is only half the picture in delivering quality healthcare,” said Dr Fox. “Receiving quality clinical practice once they are inside the doors is equally important.”

“It would not be helpful if lower fees meant shorter visits - or even single issue visits.”

Dr Fox said that would be counter-productive to the goals of the Primary Health Care Strategy, which aims to improve the health of all New Zealanders and reduce health disparities between population groups.

Dr Fox agreed with the Minister that general practice viability had and continues to be an issue of concern.

‘Significant increases in profit’, as reported by the Minister, is not the experience reported to the College by the 2057 respondents to its 2005 workforce survey. While GPs anecdotally reported additional practice income this was not unexpected after what had been accepted by all as declining practice income for many years. GPs have reported that now means they can consider upgrading facilities and equipment.

At the same time as moving to remove further financial barriers for patients, Dr Fox hopes that the Minister will continue to invest in initiatives that assist GPs improve the outcomes for patients inside the door of primary care,

The College of GPs works to improve the health of all New Zealanders through high quality general practice care.


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