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Turia - fairer sharing of health dollars

MEDIA STATEMENT

19 Haratua 2000 (May)

Turia - fairer sharing of health dollars

The Labour-led government’s health policies stress that community ownership and community linkages are critically important as the basis for primary health service delivery said Hon Tariana Turia, Associate Minister of Health

Hon Tariana Turia spoke last night in Christchurch at the Annual General Meeting of Healthcare Aotearoa.

"It is time that the community-based providers received a more fair share of the primary health dollars. Existing community based health providers have shown they can deliver quality primary health care, especially in areas of high health need.

"Healthcare Aotearoa (HCA) has an enviable record as a network of 35 community owned and governed primary health providers. Since it began, the membership of HCA has come from both Mäori and mainstream providers.

"HCA have struggled to ensure that Treaty of Waitangi commitments are honoured. This is an example we need to learn form as we engage in the strengthening of our health system.

"This government acknowledges that the active networking of community based health services within Healthcare Aotearoa is a model that must be nurtured. It promises much in achieving better health outcomes, and closing the gaps in health.

"The formulae used for payment of primary health care is in urgent need of change. We need to move beyond talking to make sure that all those looking after the most deprived in our communities are being paid fairly for their work. Any re-worked formula would apply to all providers of primary health care to high need populations.

"The government proposes to fund District Health Boards on a needs-based population formula. The DHBs in turn must be able to fund primary care in an equitable way.

"Over the past few years, the GP groupings called IPAs have been funded by governments to set themselves up as large and powerful organisations. The HFA this year say it will provide them with more that $20 million for 'primary care organisation services'.

"It is unclear as to whether Iwi and Mäori providers, MDOs (Mäori Development Organisations) and MAPOs (Mäori Co-purchasing Organisations in the northern region) would receive the same level of support to develop primary care organisation services. I am currently seeking a response from the HFA on this matter.

Hon Tariana Turia said at the conference "the Government also needs to explore ways that HCA too can be supported, especially in the coming period when they will be called on as a model of community ownership in health".

ENDS

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