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Report should improve PHO development - NZMA

FROM: Dr Peter Foley, Chairman NZMA GP Council
DATE: Tuesday, 2 December 2003

Report should improve PHO development - NZMA

The New Zealand Medical Association welcomes the report about Public Health Organisations (PHOs), released today, which confirms many of the concerns previously voiced by the NZMA.

The report, by Victoria University’s Health Services Research Centre, examines the first year (July 2002 - June 2003) of PHOs.

NZMA General Practitioner Council Chairman Dr Peter Foley said he hoped the report’s findings would be implemented as soon as possible, so existing and new PHOs would not encounter the problems faced by those which were established first.

“This report does not make up for the absence of a comprehensive implementation plan, but it does provide useful tools for the Ministry of Health to improve the way PHOs are developed. If the wider health sector had been taken heed of earlier in the process, many of these problems could have been avoided. However, there is a good opportunity now to get it right,” Dr Foley said.

“The report confirms the enormous commitment by General Practice to set up PHOs, much of it under- or un-funded. The adequacy of the management fee for ongoing PHO development is also an issue for the NZMA.

“The report also confirms the NZMA’s longstanding concern about the lack of publicity and advice around enrolment issues which have led to poor public awareness of PHOs.”

Dr Foley said one area the report did not cover was the issue of clinical outcomes for patients.

“The whole point of the Primary Health Care Strategy is to improve the health of New Zealanders through improved access to primary health services and reduced inequalities,” he said.

“The new system is a huge change to the way primary health services are delivered. We now need to know if it is making a difference for New Zealanders. I look forward to seeing ongoing clinical audit.”

ENDS

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