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Southern’s Heath Care Home expands

Southern’s Heath Care Home expands further across the district with launch of programme’s second phase

Even more patients in the Southern district will soon benefit from a new model of primary care services as five additional general practices begin the process of becoming Health Care Home (HCH) practices - including the first GP practice in Invercargill.

Waihopai Health Services in Invercargill, Broadway Medical Centre in Dunedin, Cromwell’s Junction Health, Wanaka Medical Centre, and Aspiring Medical Centre in Wanaka today join the HCH programme.

The Health Care Home is a modernised and more effective general practice, promoting access to urgent and unplanned care, providing more preventative care and better supporting people with complex needs. The programme has been adopted elsewhere in New Zealand and internationally.

“Our strategic vision is to support a competent team, providing care that is coordinated, considered, compassionate, courteous, and kind and the Health Care Home programme supports us in doing this,” says Dr Sier Vermunt, Director, Waihopai Health Services. “We hope the HCH framework will help us to continue to improve, delivering close, prompt and appropriate care.”

Broadway Medical Centre’s Dr Doug Hill says the HCH programme is about improving ways of working while keeping patients as the focus: “I hope patients have more ways to access the care we provide, including a wider range of services and a more personalised approach that reflects their individual health needs.

“The HCH programme is a core part of the Primary and Community Care Strategy and is the platform from which health providers can further develop integrated care models.”

The new cohort of HCH practices follows from the initial group of four GP practices in the district – Amity Health Centre in Dunedin, Queenstown Medical Centre, Gore Health, and Gore Medical Centre – that started the HCH process in July.

Rhonda Reid, Business Manager of Gore Health, said while there have been challenges along the way, the practice has already seen benefits: “It’s been a positive process so far and we have had excellent support from WellSouth primary health network. We’ve worked closely together as a team to decide what changes we can make that will benefit the way the practice works and for our patients and staff. These include GP triage and daily practice meetings to plan and be pro-active about patient care.”

Ian Macara, WellSouth CE, says the feedback he’s been receiving from the initial practices is very encouraging: “I think it’s testament to their commitment to their patients that they’ve embraced the health care home model and are already experiencing some of the benefits. I know these next five practices well, and I am convinced they are going to do a similarly good job. I think it’s a good sign for the Southern health system that primary care is thinking carefully about its future, and we look forward to further practices joining next year.”

Lisa Gestro, Southern DHB Executive Director, Strategy, Primary and Community, says that HCH is more than a name or a credential and is about meaningful and effective gains for patients and practices: "The Health Care Home initiative strengthens primary care and facilitates better connections across the health system. Ultimately though, it is really about keeping the focus on patients and their whānau.”

A further seven practices will begin the programme in mid-2019. They include Mornington Health Centre, Mataora and the Meridian Medical Centre in Dunedin, the Alexandra Medical Centre practices (comprising the current Centennial, Cornerstone, and Central medical practices), North End Health Centre and their satellite branch Junction Doctors in Oamaru, Clutha Health First in Balclutha, and the Invercargill Medical Centre.

About Health Care Home (HCH)

· General Practices organised to deliver better services for patients

· More options for appointments, including phone consults and face-to-face consultations to those who need them most

· Stronger connections to community, hospital and specialist services

· Better access to clinical information and health records through secure patient portals

· Might also include additional services such as rehabilitation, rapid response services, access to clinical pharmacist services and some outpatient clinics.

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