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Some DHBs don’t understand what primary care is ab


from the Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners

14 February 2007

Some DHBs don’t understand what primary care is about

The Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners believes that some District Health Boards don’t understand that primary care exists - much less that they are responsible for funding that sector.

“Feedback from our members tells us that about a third of DHBs interact well with primary care and general practice,” said College CEO Karen Thomas. “A second third have heard of it, but the remainder act as if they have never heard of it - nor seem to care.”

The College, which runs quality programmes aimed at lifting overall standards within general practice, is very supportive of yesterday’s comments before the Health Select Committee by Health and Disability Commissioner Ron Paterson.

“He identified the communication between primary and secondary care as one of the problems, and we think so too,” Ms Thomas said.

“Unfortunately it seems as though DHBs have been so focused on getting their budgets sorted that they have not had the time to realise that primary care is where you deliver care in the 21st century.

“The hospitals only see the extreme end of medicine. Do it properly in primary care – and many patients don’t even need to go to hospital,” Ms Thomas said.

The College of GPs wrote to all 21 DHBs last November seeking dialogue around improving communication, which included GP access to notes for their patients who are in hospital, to discussions with both junior and senior clinicians, and the role of hospital registrars in accepting or rejecting patient referrals from specialist GPs.

“One third have responded to the letter, and our problem is now in developing better communications with the two thirds who have not yet replied.”

District Health Boards are now responsible for the provision of proper care for all the population in their area.

“They must look outside their hospital walls,” Ms Thomas said.

The College of GPs is already working at systems levels to improve patient care, and plans to expand that this year with an overall framework for patient safety.


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