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Childhood Immunisation Report

Childhood Immunisation Report


Chris Clarke Lead CEO for Primary Health Care - DHBs
(Hawkes Bay DHB CEO)

Media Statement:

Report useful contribution


  • Final Report

  • The DHB commissioned report into general practice childhood immunisation released today is a useful contribution to the work being done to improve immunisation rates says District Health Boards Lead CEO for Primary Health Care, Chris Clarke.

    He says the Immunisation Advisory Centre report is one piece of work in a range of activity looking at all ways to improve childhood immunisation rates and how best to support primary health care to help reach this goal.

    “Primary health care plays a crucial role in childhood immunisation and DHBs acknowledge the efforts the sector has made in helping us get the increases in immunisation we’ve achieved so far.”

    District Health Boards fund Primary Health Organisations (PHOs) who in turn contract general practices and other agencies to deliver the service. The Ministry of Health also funds some providers, and pays for the vaccines.

    New Zealand’s target for childhood immunisation coverage is 95% of children fully immunised by 2 years of age. Rates are increasing – up from 67% in the first quarter of 2007/2008 to 76% in the last quarter of 2007/2008 (Ministry of Health figures) and DHBs are committed to reaching the goal. Mr Clarke says improving child health and children’s immunisation rates are DHB priorities and DHBs are committed to making sure the right systems are in place to ensure a safe, high quality and cost effective service.

    In 2007/08 DHBs led the Immunisation Service Delivery Framework, working with the Ministry of Health, PHOs, Immunisation Outreach and Coordination Services. This is a comprehensive plan aimed to improve immunisation coverage.

    As part of the Framework DHBs commissioned the Immunisation Advisory Centre (IMAC) to look at how childhood immunisations are delivered in general practice, and the costs. DHBs wanted objective advice about the net average cost of delivering immunisations, the time commitment, who was delivering immunisations and whether costs varied between practices.


    While the report found there was a gap between the average immunisation cost and the immunisation subsidy benefit – or fee for service paid to clinics – it acknowledged there are other sources of funding available to cover the costs of delivering immunisations - which were not included in the scope of the study. These include Primary Health Care capitation – or bulk- funding and other funding streams.

    Chris Clarke says delivery and cost of immunisation is complex, particularly how to reduce inequalities and reach high health needs children who may not be accessing primary health care services.

    ‘Measures to further improve access to general practice services and immunisation continue to be priority issues for the Ministry and DHBs’.

    ‘The Implementation Plan assigns responsibility to District Health Boards, Ministry of Health, PHO, general practice and others to ensure the childhood immunisation rate continues to increase and the primary health care sector continues to be well set up and funded to deliver this important service.’

    ENDS

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