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Maori lead the way in affordable health care

Maori lead the way in affordable health care

Four new Primary Health Organisations will give thousands more New Zealanders access to affordable, family-based primary health care, says Associate Health Minister, Tariana Turia.

Health Minister Annette King will be in the Hutt Valley today to launch one of the four new PHOs. The other three are in Gisborne, Tairawhiti and the West Coast of the South Island.

“PHOs bring together GPs, nurses and community health workers into partnership with families, to promote all aspects of whanau wellness,” says Tariana Turia. “This is a huge opportunity for our people.”

“A thorough look at a family’s health status might reveal social and environmental factors, like housing. PHOs promote a multi-disciplinary approach to health care.

“A strong emphasis on primary care should soon reduce demand for medical treatment and hospitalisation. This will help our people to focus on getting healthy and staying healthy, while bringing down health costs nationwide.

“Tangata whenua are playing a lead role in establishing PHOs across the country so that our communities can have access to affordable care that meets their needs,” says Tariana Turia.

The first two Primary Health Organisation were established in July 2002. Te Kupenga o Hoturoa was formed when three South Auckland Maori health providers joined forces. The PHO charges no fees for children aged up to 18, and only $15 for adults.

TaPasefika provides for Pacific Islanders in the same Counties-Manukau area.

The two new East Coast PHOs will cover the entire Tairawhiti DHB region.

Turanganui PHO is a combination of Maori health provider Turanga Health, Pinnacle Independent Practice Association (IPA), and First Health IPA. It will service about 32,000 people, mainly in Gisborne.

Ngati Porou Hauora PHO will serve about 12,000 people from Potaka to Gisborne.

Piki te Ora ki te Awakairangi PHO, comprised of Whai Oranga o te Iwi, Hutt Union and Community Health Service Incorporated, and Kokiri Marae Trust providers, will serve about 13,000 people in Lower Hutt and Wainuiomata.

The West Coast PHO, which includes all the GP practices in the region, will cover the entire West Coast and its population of about 32,000 people.

The PHOs are being subsidised from $50 million allocated this financial year to begin implementing the Primary Health Care Strategy. $400 million dollars has been allocated over three years to provide affordable, quality primary health care.

By July next year up to two million New Zealanders are likely to be enrolled in PHOs. Nearly all DHBs in the country have signalled they will have at least one PHO established by early 2003.

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