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Additional $100 Million Workforce And Resources Investment Needed For Future Of General Practice

GPNZ members say additional $100 million workforce and resources investment needed for future of General Practice

GPNZ is calling for an immediate increase in general practice funding from 5.4% to 7.5% of Vote health to cover the cost of staff needed to provide the full range of primary care services for New Zealanders.

An updated workforce report from GPNZ estimates that funding a multi-disciplinary primary care team to meet the needs of the population would be $2.29 billion per year – up $100m since its previous analysis in 2019.

The update published today incorporates learnings from managing COVID-19 and takes into account the recent recommendations of the Health & Disability Systems Review.

“Primary Care in NZ is doing a really good job with innovations such as broadening the skills of the general practice team and implementing the Health Care Home model. This is having a positive impact on patient services,” says GPNZ chair, Dr Jeff Lowe. “The rapid changes we made to services in response to COVID-19 together with the Health & Disability Systems Review has presented the opportunity to build even more strengthened general practice teams that can deliver more services in the community and lead to better patient outcomes.”

“When you take co-payments into consideration, this increase seems very reasonable, given the expectation that more behavioural and other allied health roles such as Health Improvement Practitioners and Health Coaches will be included within the existing 20 million consultations General Practice sees every year, he says.”

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There were three key points raised in feedback to the original discussion document released last year, relating to the distribution of clinical FTE, these were:

1. The need for more highly skilled nurses in general practice, but overall, the number of nurses was too high.

2. Time savings for GPs from the use of other roles and technology efficiencies should be reinvested back into the management of complex care. Many saw a big opportunity, post Covid-19, to work more closely with secondary care to manage some cases in the community.

3. The use of clinical pharmacists, Health Improvement Practitioners, physiotherapists, counsellors, therapists, social workers, and health coaches in general practice has been successful and many see a need for these roles to be more widely utilised in primary care.

Also based feedback, GPNZ has made some changes to the FTE estimates and included member feedback that the cost of rental/capital was too low and did not reflect the rental that some members were currently paying, particularly in and around major cities, thus the increase in facility cost per sqm by 25% to account for this.

“The workforce picture is intended to be a typical scenario, not a straitjacket, and is primarily a starting point for thinking about how much resource would be needed to implement such a model,” says Liz Stockley GPNZ CEO. “There is no intention to enforce a specific model in detail, which could preclude innovation and community responsiveness, but rather we hope will contribute to discussion on the best future shape of New Zealand Primary Care.”

The paper can be seen here (link)

Note for editors:

General Practice New Zealand (GPNZ) is the representative body for general practice in Aotearoa New Zealand, through Primary Health Organisations. We provide a strong national voice, advocating for primary care and the health and wellbeing of New Zealanders by supporting the delivery of high quality general practice services. Our 21 member networks represent the majority of New Zealand general practices and cover an enrolled population of more than 4.15 million New Zealanders.

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