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PHO Alliance meets with Government

PHO Alliance
Media Statement

PHO Alliance meets with Government

The leaders of 27 Primary Health Organisations met with Health Minister Pete Hodgson and Ministry of Health representatives today in a forum being heralded as the most inclusive meeting of PHOs ever held.

The meeting was the first general meeting of the PHO Alliance, which was
established in September. The meeting was also attended by the chairmen of two other PHO groups, PHONZ and Health Care Aotearoa.
The significance of the meeting was acknowledged by Health Minister Pete Hodgson.

“The Alliance will look back on this meeting and consider it a momentous occasion,” Mr Hodgson told the meeting.

He urged Primary Health Organisations to raise standards of governance and become proactive about engaging in district health board annual planning processes, which are currently underway.

Following the announcement of increased funding for medical schools, Mr Hodgson told the meeting he would like to see the level of exposure that medical students have to general practice in their medical training increased to a full year.

The Ministry of Health’s Dr Jim Primrose and DHBNZ’s Dr Win Bennett briefed the meeting on progress of the Primary Health Care Strategy implementation work programme and emphasised the focus of the Primary Health Care Strategy on reducing health disparities between New Zealanders resulting from ethnic or socioeconomic status.

This was met with concern from PHOs about the pressure within the sector to participate in consultations and workshops associated with the work programme.
Hamish Kynoch called for better ways of resourcing sector engagement and pledged the commitment of the PHO Alliance to the process.

“The costs in time and funds means that on the ground we run the risk of reducing rather than increasing our effectiveness in delivering improved primary health care to our communities,” Mr Kynoch said.
Michael Lamont, chairman of Mangere Community Health Trust PHO, shared his impressions gained from a recent study tour undertaken by primary health leaders to England and Scotland.

“The UK health system has shifted the power in decision making to the primary and community sector and away from the hospital sector. Additionally it has driven a closer integration of health services and a greater choice of services for the population,” Mr Lamont said.

The meeting adopted a statement of strategic intent that: “The PHO Alliance will be the hub for the development, exchange and promotion of policies and strategies that advance the objectives of the Primary Health Strategy through its member Primary Health Organisations”.

Mr Kynoch said the PHO Alliance will continue to provide a forum to discuss how best to improve the health of New Zealanders through innovative collaboration between communities, primary health care providers, health promoters and educators, and other social agencies.

The PHO Alliance will hold its next meeting in March.


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