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Review heralds new era for rural PRIME service

Review heralds new era for rural PRIME service

A wide-ranging review of New Zealand’s Primary Response in Medical Emergency (PRIME) service has been successfully completed and work will soon begin to implement its recommendations, says New Zealand Rural General Practice Network Chief Executive Dalton Kelly.

“After a very professional and totally comprehensive, year-long process involving numerous stakeholders, the review outcomes have been accepted and we can now get on with the work plan. It will be great to work with our colleagues including St John and NASO during the next phase.”

The review has been “a major piece of work and those involved have done a fantastic job”.

“All of the things we had hoped for have been approved including a review of current funding arrangements, administration structures, clinical governance and roles, training and appropriate medicines and equipment,” said Mr Kelly.

The report has now been made publicly available and can be downloaded from the Ministry of Health’s website (www.naso.govt.nz).

“Expressions of interest will soon be sought from PRIME clinicians with the right skill set to chair a National PRIME committee,” said Mr Kelly.

Key review outcomes include providing a safe, effective and sustainable service that allows a balance of local autonomy and central control and is aligned to the themes in the New Zealand Health Strategy 2016: people-powered, closer to home, value and high performance, one team and smart system.

While the issue of funding was not part of the review, it has been accepted by the Ministry of Health and ACC that there will be a formal review of PRIME funding. This was proposed by the steering group to address sector concerns that PRIME funding is not sustainable.

Outside of the review, $251,000 had also been allocated to PRIME in the recent Budget, Mr Kelly said.

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