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Securing Sustainable General Practice In Aotearoa: Solutions To Reverse The Crisis

A report detailing solutions for sustainable general practice has been released today by General Practice New Zealand (GPNZ).

“General practice sits at the heart of primary and community care. If it fails, the health system fails.” says Porirua-based Specialist General Practitioner and Chair of GPNZ, Dr Bryan Betty.

Delivering 20+ million encounters a year, general practice provides continuous, comprehensive, coordinated care that is proven to reduce the need for hospitalisations and urgent care, and reduce mortality.

GPNZ worked with Sapere, well known for its work in the New Zealand health system and specifically general practice, along with the wealth of expertise within its member network to develop a range of solutions that are essential to sustainable general practice and a world-leading health system.

“We’re in a desperate and growing crisis. People are increasingly unable to access the care they need when they need it, and that is felt most sharply by people who need support the most,” says Dr Betty.

“These solutions will enable practices not just to recover but to thrive, delivering the kind of care they desperately want to provide to their communities.”

The solutions fall into a few key and interdependent themes: funding; complexity; models of care; rural general practice; workforce; integration; and primary care development and structures.

“Innovation, changes to the model of care, flexible service delivery - these are key parts of our vision of modern general practice. Our solutions are geared to delivering this,” adds Dr Betty.

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“In essence we need that long-awaited new funding model – one that will tackle inequity and truly recognise all drivers of demand and complexity. We also need initiatives to expand, develop and truly value a multi-disciplinary primary care workforce, and support for technology as an enabler.”

The recommendations also place importance on the structures in place that strengthen primary and community care, with services planned around whānau and communities and a collective focus on illness prevention, health promotion and ensuring equitable access to timely, high-quality care and support.

Beyond stabilisation of core services, there is a wider goal – expanding and developing primary care to deliver fully on the promise of Pae Ora, delivering increased wellbeing and equity for all New Zealanders.

“Achieving these things requires a level of sustained investment that has never been available to primary care providers under any government.”

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