Friday 08 April 2011, 03:26PM
Speech from Tony Ryall
Good afternoon and welcome to the official Midlands Health Network
Integrated Family Health Centres launch in Hamilton.
It's great to be here this afternoon to celebrate this development
My association with your predecessor organisation Pinnacle Health
goes back some 12 or so years when I spoke at the launch of
Pinnacle in the Western Bay of Plenty.
And like then, you have put yourselves at the forefront of the
transformational changes happening in primary care here in New
And today we are launching that change.
Firstly, I'd like to acknowledge my parliamentary colleagues here
with us, David Bennett and Tim MacIndoe, and the Director General
of Health Kevin Woods.
I'd also like to acknowledge Midlands health network trust chair
Craig Macfarlane, Pinnacle chair Dr Cullen,, CEO John
Macaskill-Smith, and the Midlands Health Network staff who have put
considerable effort and thought into this new way of caring for
This event caps off a great week in health.
Yesterday we launched the Health Workforce NZ diabetes nurse
prescribing demonstration at Greenlane Hospital.
For the first time a group of registered nurses have been
authorised to independently prescribe medication to their patients.
( other than Nurse Practitioners)
People with diabetes in four North Island regions will have their
medication managed by registered nurses practising in diabetes
We need to develop smarter and more practical ways of utilising our
health workforce to deliver these services, and innovative ways
like this are the way forward.
Over the past two years the public health service has employed over
500 extra doctors and well over 1000 extra nurses.
And all data points to more doctors working in general
But workforce challenges remain, especially as we face solving the
problem of not enough clinicians to meet the ever increasing demand
for health care.
Midland Health Network
I visited Hamilton a few weeks ago and had the opportunity to talk
to clinicians and staff and to look around one of your
Your publicity says you are 'putting the patient at the middle of
And I was impressed at how Midlands Health has proactively put the
patients and their needs at the centre of their service.
The new model of care involves significant and major change for
patients - for the better.
You have done a lot of work reorganising how patients interact with
their local GP clinics and in turn how primary care is connected to
the broader health system.
Even the first port of call will be a fundamentally different
Earlier this afternoon I launched the sites and the Patient Access
The PAC is your new virtual front door.
This is making great use of technology - for patients.
Patients will be able to phone or email from anywhere, anytime 24/7
and talk first of all to a member of your team at the Patient
Access Centre - one of the St John trained health care team.
- … Who will actively triage
all calls and requests - and if needed give immediate assistance or
- … Or they'll arrange for the
GP to give the patient a call - they can even give an exact time
and then book the GP in to make that call at the promised
- … And if the patient does
need to come in, their visit will have been carefully planned to
ensure they see the right member of the general practice team,
having had the necessary scans or tests done beforehand - no long
waits, prompt service.
That's choice for the patient, right from the beginning - a
flexible series of options for patients and staff to choose
Not only that, patients will have better access sooner, more
control over their own health information and be better able to
navigate the entire health system.
That is indeed a patient centred service.
At the same time, this is good for staff too.
Nurses are taking on addition responsibilities, as are pharmacists
and medical receptionists.
This new model of care is part of your move to establish a network
of integrated family health centres…with initially three here in
Congratulations on your success.
Better Sooner More Convenient
It is worth me restating the objectives of the government's drive
in primary care policy - and why a more integrated primary sector
is crucial to our public health service of the future.
As we all know, the demand for better and more health services
grows every year, always faster and stronger than any funding
And stronger than the growth of the economy.
Population ageing, new technology and medicine, and rising costs
are putting huge pressure on health services around the
Internationally, health budgets are being cut dramatically.
However, the National-led government is following a prudent
strategy future-proofing our health service to better deal with
those increasing demographic and financial pressures.
If demand for health services is to double over the next 10 years
as some experts suggest, then we are not in a position to double
Waikato Hospital or double the number of doctors and nurses.
That is why we need to move services to a lower cost platform that
can deliver care closer to home ... and that platform is in the
And that means integrating services across hospital and community
in ways that put the patients' needs at the centre of how care is
provided: closer to home.
But that doesn't often happen now because the necessary primary
care teams and infrastructure do not broadly exist.
And the historic divide between hospital and community clinicians
doesn't make it easy.
That is why the Integrated Family Health Centre concept in
particular is pivotal to the future delivery of patient-centred
It's about building capacity to deliver more complex care…in the
The evidence base for a comprehensive multi-disciplinary approach
suggests that these will greatly help patients to get the right
care in the right place.
General practice in New Zealand is evolving to combine accessible
general practice with the benefits of working at scale with
others…either co-located or networked.
As I said earlier, this is all about preparing the public health
service for the future. Building the infrastructure and
professional teams we need.
That's what Midlands Health Network is doing.
it is a great privilege being Minister of Health.
And I want a second term in this job. Because the public health
service in New Zealand is now making real progress for
Unlike so many other countries around the world, ours is a
government determined to protect and grow the public health
But we are borrowing $300 million a week and that can't continue if
we are to avoid the sort of meltdown seen in other countries.
The next year will be much tighter for the health budget.
Though, with determination and co-operation, we can ensure that
service continues to improve for patients and families here in New
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