Pacific Health+ First Health Practice In Wellington To Use In-house Rapid Blood Testing For Diabetes
The standard process for getting your blood tested and results back can take a number of days. And in some communities, this lapse can be the difference between life and death.
Pacific Health Plus (PHP), a primary healthcare provider in the low socio-economic suburb of Cannons Creek in Porirua, will be the first GP practice in the Wellington region to use a combination of ‘rapid point of care’ blood testing analysers to quickly get results and diagnose, educate and manage patients on the spot.
The new I-Stat Alinity and Afiniom2 analyser machines measure the basic biochemistry of patients, including sugar levels, potassium, sodium, lipids, HbA1C and other elements in the blood.
“Understanding the biochemistry helps the doctor immediately assess what potential health risks might be and what care is required,” says Lee Pearce, director at PHP.
“Biochemistry looks at how our body works and the chemical processes involved. Biochemistry is very important for diagnosing diabetes. Type-2 diabetes and obesity, is a major cause of health inequities for Māori and Pacific people, particularly where economic issues compound the problem,” says Ms Pearce. “The proportion of Pacific people with diabetes is twice that of the rest of the New Zealand population - and that rate is rising. Other than South Auckland, Porirua has the highest concentration of Pacific people in New Zealand.
“By moving to quickly modify habits to stem the onset of diabetes we can reduce hospitalisation rates - which for Pacific people is about double that of the general population,” says Ms Pearce. “If we can inform and show patients what is causing them to feel unwell, there is a better chance of us educating and assisting them instead of losing that chance while we wait for lab results.”
A recent report done by the Capital & Coast District Health Board found that the health system is failing to meet the needs of Pacific people nationally, with consistent disparities in health outcomes for Pacific people.
“As the only Pacific owned and governed Pacific provider, delivering to 12% of the Pacific population in the Wellington region, we are committed to changing the negative statistics that continue to worsen for Pasifika families,” says John Fiso, Chairman of Pacific Health Plus. "This exciting new equipment will help us do that."
Pacific Health Plus has been actively pursuing multiple methods to improve health outcomes for the Pacific communities it services. At the end of last year, it partnered with the Maurice Wilkins Centre in a joint research initiative on metabolic diseases such as diabetes, it launched the first sugar-in-schools education and research programme in Wellington to understand absorption rates of sugar, will soon launch a mobile clinic and open new centres of wellbeing to approach health holistically.
“We have received strong support from the Pacific directorates at the CCDHB and Ministry of Health and working in partnership with them we hope to deliver improved community care,” says Mr Fiso.
Other than South Auckland, Porirua has the highest concentration of Pacific people in New Zealand
People in socio-economically deprived areas are more likely to be diabetic. In Porirua, diabetes
is clustered in Waitangirua, Cannons Creek, and Porirua East, areas with higher proportions of
Māori and Pacific people. (Porirua City Children and Young People Status Report 2019).
In 2019 the weekly median income for a Pacific person was $670 compared to $942 for the rest
of the population (StatsNZ)
Pacific Health Plus
Pacific Health Plus (PHP) is a privately owned Pacific General Practice in the heart of Cannons Creek in Porirua East. It operates under the umbrella of Tu Ora Compass Primary Health Organisation.
PHP has an enrolled population of 2234. Sixty percent of the enrolled population at PHP have a chronic condition and are high needs. It is the only Pacific-owned, -governed and -operated
primary healthcare provider in Porirua and is determined to contribute to meeting the needs of the Pasifika communities in Cannons Creek and improving outcomes for families in the area.