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General Practice New Zealand (GPNZ) Calls For Health And Disability System Review Publication

General Practice New Zealand (GPNZ) calls for Health and Disability System Review publication to aid future planning focus.

GPNZ is advocating for the Health and Disability System Review to be released as soon as possible to ensure the many significant positive changes born out of Covid-19 requirements, can become business as usual for general practice and the whole health system.

“To ensure these changes can flourish and remain sustainable, we need sight of the path that the Health and Disability System Review will take for general practice,” says Liz Stockley CE GPNZ, whose organisation supports General Practice through 19 PHO members representing the health needs of 3.85 million New Zealanders.

“General Practice has played an essential role in keeping NZ safe from Covid,” says Stockley. “In doing so it has accelerated some of the changes alluded to in the interim H&DS report, notably embracing telehealth and virtual consult technology. General practice is ready to work within a planned care landscape and deliver additional support for patients, reducing secondary care needs and increasing opportunities for cross sector working,” she says.

GPNZ strongly advocates for the following gains in primary care work to receive appropriate ongoing support:

  • Virtual care in general practice – this needs to be appropriate infrastructure and consistent access to enablers such as shared care record.
  • Planned care – the cross-sector work that began before Covid has continued with a focus on appropriate care location, care delivered by the most appropriate clinician and the service principle of virtual first where possible. This now requires a sensible funding mechanism, commitment from each DHB and appropriate access to specialists and diagnostics.
  • Proactive care for patients with long term conditions – this requires a different funding model that encourages the multi-disciplinary general practice team to reach out proactively to patients and does not depend on foot traffic across the general practice threshold.

“The speed with which general practice became unsustainable during the first few weeks of the Covid situation, demonstrated the cumulative effect of many years of underfunding and the inappropriateness of the capitation formula.” Says Dr Jeff Lowe - GPNZ Chair. “The post Covid general practice funding model will need to look different and is a journey we need to make quickly, with support of Government decision makers. This is a chance for general practice to reconfigure and re-engineer how we work to meet the needs of the future, also providing the ideal opportunity to properly address equity by design in everything we do,” he says.

“It is also an appropriate time to celebrate and help support the work of organised general practice. The Covid situation has demonstrated the value of the local co-ordinated function, leadership, and agility delivered by PHOs. This cannot be lost in future sector development,” he says, “Now is the time to deliver Heather Simpson’s findings to ensure we’re all in this together.”

More information:

PHOs deliverables during the Covid situation:

  • PHOs have been instrumental co-ordinating regional responses working with DHBs and other providers to achieve appropriate local solutions within national framework.
  • They’ve demonstrated can do attitude and flexibility to scale up and down responses, take testing on the road to ensure reaching specific communities such as rural or high priority. PHOs ensured Practices had the equipment, skills, policies and overall support they needed to set up virtual services at pace.
  • PHOs have also acted as co-ordinators sharing good practice across the country, saving reinvention and also feeding issues back to the centre. This process has been agile and constructive.

General Practice New Zealand advocates supports General Practice through 19 PHO members representing the health needs of 3.85 million New Zealanders


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