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No better health deal for Maori and Pacific People

No better health deal for Maori and Pacific Island people

The six new Primary Health Organisations coming into effect tomorrow will do little for the long-term provision of primary health care in Maori and Pacific communities, says National’s Maori Affairs spokesperson Georgina te Heuheu.

“Recent Health Ministry findings that avoidable hospital admissions for conditions and diseases that could be treated through primary care intervention are on the rise are a real worry.

“And even more so, in light of reports that the PHO scheme could see some doctors’ visits limited to as little as nine-minute consultations.

“The upward trend for conditions such as obesity and Type 2 diabetes shows no sign of slowing. These diseases are very prevalent in Maori and Pacific communities – the same communities that the Government has supposedly put so much effort into through its ‘reducing equalities/gaps’ programmes.

“Because PHOs are funded on area-based criteria, rather than on individual need, there is no guarantee that all those who have a high health need will be covered.

“This will hit Maori and Pacific communities particularly hard.

“A target of nine-minute doctors’ visits, as recently reported in the business plan of a South Auckland medical practice, are not the answer for low income, high need communities. What is needed is quality care, with elements of education and disease management and support.

“This simply can’t happen under a PHO scheme which will stretch GP services to the limit in both coverage and funding,” says Mrs te Heuheu.

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