"Our vulnerable patients need us to keep doing this important work"

9 June 2022


By Jamie Morris, Communications Advisor

A commitment to health equity ensures patients can access healthcare based on clinical need, without being constrained by ethnicity, location, or finance. 

The College is committed to improving health equity and in 2020, we launched an Equity module as part of our Cornerstone Programme. Practices have really started to sink their teeth into the module, despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and we've started to see some great assessments coming through.  

Kurow Medical Centre recently completed the Cornerstone Equity Module for the first time, building on what they'd previously learnt in Foundation Standard, the College's entry level quality programme. 

We spoke to Dr Natasha Sharp, GP to find out how the module has helped the practice, the changes they've made, what they learnt, and what they liked about the module. 

Dr Sharp explained the module helped them to enhance the equity work they were already doing, by reflecting on why they were doing certain things, and what was going well. 

"We were already working towards improving equitable health outcomes, but having a specific module meant we could think about what was working well and what needed to change and then we were able to update our goals,” said Dr Sharp. 

Since completing the module, they've made multiple changes around the practice like adding equity as a standing agenda item for practice meetings, completing audits and reflections, and introducing two new policies: health equity and cultural competency. 

“We've also implemented compulsory training for staff on equity topics like recognising and addressing bias. Our staff have found this training interesting and have learnt that you're often unaware how much your subconscious bias impacts your daily life," said Dr Sharp. 

The staff learnt about Te Tiriti o Waitangi and the impact it has on health inequities, but their key learning was the realisation that there was always more that could be done. 

"The module opened my eyes to areas we needed to prioritise and improve. It brought me back to the reality of no matter how well you think you're doing; you can always aim to be doing better. Our vulnerable patients need us to keep doing this important work," said Dr Sharp. 

Overall, the practice enjoyed the module with Dr Sharp saying she particularly liked the purpose. 

"Having a focus on health equity is so important, especially in general practice. The module seemed a bit overwhelming to begin with, but once we started, many things complemented each other, and it flowed really well," said Dr Sharp. 

College-endorsed assessor Joan Allardyce said Kurow Medical Centre's Equity module assessment stood out and their community is lucky to be under their care. 

"They completely grasped and practised equity in their work and planning.  

"It was as if it came naturally and easily to them - though that does not diminish the huge effort applied to writing all their comments and attaching all the evidence sought." 

Interested in completing the Equity module? 

  • costs $550 + GST 
  • once achieved, it's valid for three years
  • Cornerstone Programme core module. 

For more information and/or to purchase the module, go to our quality website.