College Medical Director Dr Bryan Betty pictured right said, "Good integration between community health services is critically important, especially for vulnerable and rural communities and seeing a recommendation to have the local community involved in the design of their own local health services is very exciting."
In New Zealand, 90 percent of people’s healthcare happens in the community. GPs and rural hospital doctors work on the frontline of healthcare and are keenly aware of where the system breaks down.
Dr Betty says, "Everything is reasonable and good in theory, but I’m interested to see how these measures will roll out to the front line where our doctors are consistently delivering high-quality community medical care.
The College recognises that a lot of work has gone into this and we will need to comb out the finer details, but on the face on it we are pleased to see recognition of the value and contribution of the Tier 1 primary and community medicine, including ring-fencing DHB funding for this sector.
However, we are also cautious about how this will work. The changes proposed to PHOs are interesting, but we are very cautious about how this will work in practice and are wary of losing the clinical community medicine representation at the DHB level.