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Recognition Of General Practice’s Crucial Role In Childhood Immunisations Welcomed

The Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners welcomes the decision that the important role general practices play in the delivery of childhood immunisations will be recognised with more funding.

In discussion last night at the General Practice Leaders’ Forum, Dr Nick Chamberlain, National Public Health Service national director at Te Whatu Ora outlined details of what support there would be for practices who carry out this crucial part of a child’s healthcare.

College President Dr Samantha Murton says, "We know the responsibility to ensure children are receiving their immunisations on time will stay with general practice, and we believe this is the right place for it.

"Our practice teams put a lot of time and effort into improving the immunisation rates in their communities. This extra funding will go a long way to help us with the initial pre-calls and recalls of whānau who have pēpi due or overdue for their immunisations throughout their early years."

Starting from 1 April 2024 the additional funding going to general practice for the pre-call and recall work required will be:

  • $40 base payment to the practice where the baby is enrolled, for any completed six-week immunisation (no matter where the immunisation is administered)
  • An additional $40 payment for priority groups - high-needs, Māori, Pasifika, rural, community card holders and quintile 5

"The six-week immunisations are often the first chance for the general practice team to check in on the health and wellbeing of the baby, mother, and wider whānau. Of all the immunisations, this one is the one that should be carried out in a general practice," says Dr Murton.

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Recall processes as set out in the College’s Foundation Standard give good guidance to practices on what is expected with this funding. The College will be collating a one-page document to support practices, so the expected processes are clear.

The College recommends that pharmacies who start to offer childhood immunisations will have contractual obligations and strict processes to ensure there are no gaps in care. This includes referral to general practice if there are any concerns, prompt advice to practices of immunisation, and real time logging of data into the Aotearoa Immunisation Register (AIR).

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