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Study confirms importance of primary health

23 June 2006

Study confirms importance of primary health

Health Minister Pete Hodgson has welcomed a study on avoidable hospitalisations as a timely endorsement of the government's Primary Health Care Strategy.

The Study – published today in the New Zealand Medical Journal – suggests that as much as 10 per cent of the government's health budget is spent on hospitalisations that could be avoided through earlier treatment, primary care and a focus on prevention.

"The study is a further reminder of why the Labour-led government continues to invest heavily in Primary Health Care," Pete Hodgson said.

"We're confident that if we can make it easier and more affordable to access primary care, we can significantly reduce the pressure on our public hospital system and significantly improve the health of our families.

"Less money spent on avoidable hospitalisations will mean more can be invested on preventative health and on improving access to secondary treatments for the people who need it.

"It's would be, however, a mistake to focus solely on our work to make doctors' visits more affordable – the Primary Health Care Strategy goes far beyond that. Our $76 million investment in obesity prevention is just the latest example of Labour's work to focus on all aspects of preventive care.

"In addition the Primary Health Care Strategy has been specifically designed with separate funding for services to improve access, in which Primary Health Organisations (PHOs) undertake outreach. Health promotion funding is another separate and additional funding stream for PHOs.

"The new performance management system, being rolled out from 1 July is designed to progressively measure and reward good primary health care practice."

ENDS

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