On Tuesday 12 February College President Dr Sam Murton and acting Chief Executive Terina Moke met with Health Minister Hon Dr David Clark at his Beehive office.
This was Sam’s first meeting with the Minister in her capacity as president; the purpose was to introduce herself and outline her views for the future of general practice.
It was a pleasant, collegial meeting with both parties acknowledging the important contribution GPs make to the health sector. Among other topics, the Minister discussed how New Zealand's primary care funding compares to other countries.
The Minister emphasised his priorities include building a stronger publicly-funded health care system, and improving mental health outcomes and health equity. He also noted the Prime Minister’s priority of improved child health and wellbeing“It was a very positive, friendly conversation which concluded with us agreeing to keep in touch and to work collaboratively where we can,” says Sam.“The Minister’s mother worked as a GP in Otara while he was growing up, so he is very aware of the health challenges faced by low income families. He also mentioned his concern around a lack of advocacy for people living in rural and remote towns,” she says.
“My impression was that he’s passionate and motivated to make improvements. He was pleased to hear we’ve been talking with Heather Simpson, who is heading the government’s Health and Disability System Review. It’s important we feed our suggestions for system improvements into this review, as it will help shape the future of our sector.”