Last Wednesday College President Dr Sam Murton and Chief Executive Lynne Hayman met with the Minister of Health David Clark to talk about government and College activities. 

“Although I met the Minister briefly in July at our GP19 conference, this meeting was a really useful opportunity to spend a reasonable amount of time talking about the issues that are important to us and our members,” says Lynne.

“We started off by updating the Minister on the College’s new strategic direction, which is outlined in Te Rautaki. When we explained our commitment to educational excellence, quality practices and health equity, the Minister noted that these areas were all highlighted within the Health and Disability System Review interim report as areas of importance. So it was good that we were able to demonstrate to the Minister that the College’s priorities align with the report’s findings.”

Sam Murton with the Minister during her February 2019 visit.

“We also spent a bit of time talking about issues concerning members. In particular, we noted the affect the government’s current legislative changes could have on GPs,” says Sam. 

“With the medicinal cannabis scheme, and bills such as End of Life Choice and Abortion Legislation Reform moving through the House, we noted the importance of guarding conscientious objection. We noted that these bills have an impact on the GPs role and pose a risk for increased stress and reduced job satisfaction amongst GPs.

“Members had also raised concerns with us about the resourcing of PRIME services in rural areas - so we shared these with the Minister, who seemed very interested in the feedback and requested specific examples of health and safety issues. We understand the Ministry is collating information so it can identify locations where the resourcing issues are pronounced, with a view to better understanding the underlying causes of resourcing gaps. We will be providing some specific feedback we have received to the MOH primary care team. Let us know if you have anything to add.”

“We updated the Minister on our quality programme noting that, since the Foundation Standard had been introduced nationally, all GP practices were now committed to meeting a fundamental quality standard. We outlined our progress in refreshing our CORNERSTONE programme, and how we hope this work will make it easier for more practices to achieve this next level of service delivery,” says Lynne.

“Finally, we reminded the Minister about our conference for next year. David Clark has attended our last two conferences, and we’re hopeful he’ll join us again in next year to help us showcase New Zealand’s primary care sector to our Asia Pacific colleagues when we host WONCA 2020 next April.

“Overall, it was a very pleasant and informative catch up. We hope to hold regular meetings like this, so we can continue to build strong connections with the Minister and his office.”