The Royal New Zealand College of GPs welcomes a new survey report showing that patients think GP waiting room times are acceptable, and that they are treated with respect and kindness.
The Primary Care Patient Experience survey report was published on 22 December by the Health Quality and Safety Commission (HQSC).
College President Dr Tim Malloy says: “These are very good results for GPs, and I think they bear out the excellent training specialist GPs get, and their commitment to good communication with the patient and across the whole practice team.”
However, Dr Malloy says that the survey also confirms what the College has been saying for a long time: that Māori and Pasifika people are less likely to visit their GP because of cost, compared to European New Zealanders. The report notes that this experience correlates closely with socioeconomic disparity.
Dr Malloy said: “We know that half a million deserving New Zealanders are missing out on subsidised GP visits, because they are allocated by practice, rather than on an individual’s circumstances.”
“Primary health care should be equally available to everybody, and the College has been calling for a review of this VLCA (very low cost access) subsidy system as part of a wider look at primary health care funding.”
Dr Malloy noted that the survey also showed that Māori, Pasifika and Asian patients are less likely to experience a ‘joined-up’ health service than European New Zealanders, although HQSC says the reasons are not clear, and require fuller investigation.