This is about patients and access, and I think everybody has a desire to see movements in access and equity. I think what we are aiming for is achievable
Primary care’s advocates from DHB land have found themselves in the thick of the Government’s promised changes to general practice funding and fees, but the RNZCGP hasn’t yet been involved.
Asked about any “fishhooks” in talks on the changes, the boss of the DHBs’ Primary Care Integration Programme, Nick Chamberlain, did not want to comment.
“This is about patients and access, and I think everybody has a desire to see movements in access and equity,” Dr Chamberlain says.
“I think what we are aiming for is achievable.”
The chief executive of Northland DHB and chair of the DHBs’ primary integration steering group, he also refers to goodwill on all sides.
The past few months have seen the programme team working closely with the Ministry of Health and the sector to clarify what will be needed to support implementing the new Government’s policies for primary care, he says.
“It’s critical our knowledge is shared with the ministry.” The team was formed just over a year ago.
The ministry’s group manager community health service improvement Andrew Inder is its representative on behalf of the working group of the PHO Services Agreement Amendment Protocol group (PSAAP).
In a statement, Mr Inder says a working group meeting on 24 January provided a good opportunity to discuss proposed policies and the opportunities, and challenges with implementing them.
A joint data analysis group will be established to gain a greater understanding of implementation options, he says.
A brief teleconference is to be held today (1 February), and another meeting in mid-February to consider the output of the analytics work.
At the RNZCGP, president Tim Malloy says he was invited to, but could not attend, a strategic meeting with the ministry, attended by health minister David Clark.
That has been the only formal engagement opportunity, Dr Malloy says.