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General Practice Organisations United

General Practice Organisations United

GP leaders support the ambitious proposals outlined by the Government for primary health care, which have the potential to improve the health of all New Zealanders, and look forward to the announcement of appropriate funding.

Representatives from seven general practice organisations made a joint submission on the discussion paper "The Future Shape of Primary Health Care", which was released by Health Minister Annette King earlier this year. The paper's key features include proposals that patients affiliate with a primary care organisation (PCO) that will be linked to District Health Boards. The PCOs would receive population-based funding.

Parties to the submission are: The New Zealand Medical Association's GP Council, the Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners, the Independent Practitioner Association Council (IPAC), CareNet, the four university academic departments of General Practice, First Health, and the New Zealand Rural GP Network. The organisations also made individual submissions.

The group of GP leaders first met earlier this year at Lake Okataina. Their aim is to share information, increase understanding between GP groups, and speak with a unified voice on important matters affecting health care.

Their joint submission says concepts such as enrolment and population-based initiatives are not new. What is new is the Ministry's proposal to fund on a population basis, to devolve funding to Primary Care Organisations, and to purchase population services from all primary care providers. Such changes have not been possible before due to funding constraints and the poor alignment of primary care providers.

"Removing the funding obstacles and aligning the primary care providers is seen as a tremendous opportunity for the future of primary care and is a move that we believe will improve the health and well-being of New Zealanders," the submission says.

"The critical success factor will be the level of funding allocated to primary care and indeed this will be the proof of the Government's real commitment to the primary health sector."

GP Council Chairman Dr Philip Rushmer, IPAC Chairman Dr Paul McCormack, and RNZCGP Chairperson Dr Ralph Wiles said the proposals, if implemented effectively, had the potential to enhance primary care and make more effective use of the health budget.

"It is vital that the Government outline comprehensive funding strategies, otherwise the ambitious proposals will not be able to work successfully."

They said a strong general practice team was fundamental to any future primary care structure.

"The united voice of the major general practice organisations supports the Government's declaration that an effective primary health care service is central to a successful health system."

Copies of the joint submission are available from the NZMA's National Office. Please phone Communications Manager Shani Naylor (04) 472 4741.

CONTACT DETAILS ARE:

Dr Philip Rushmer (09) 817 7453 (wk) (025) 969 110 (mobile)

Dr Ralph Wiles (07) 886 5239 (wk) (021) 658 564 (mobile)

Dr Paul McCormack (03) 379 1739 (wk) (025) 325 801 (mobile)

Shani Naylor Communications Manager New Zealand Medical Association (04) 472 4741 (025) 284 1081

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