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More flexible funding for general practice teams welcomed

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

The decision to give nurses and pharmacists access to the General Medical Subsidy (GMS) is a positive one, the New Zealand Rural General Practice Network says.

"Whilst the devil is in the details that are yet to be thrashed out, the NZRGPN feels very positive about the move to free up GMS regulations so that nurses and pharmacists working within practices and providing services to non-registered patients can appropriately claim through the GMS system for the work they undertake," says NZRGPN chairman Dr Jo Scott-Jones.

Health Minister Tony Ryall has asked the Ministry of Health to work with primary health organisations and general practice networks to extend the GMS to other health professionals within the general practice team. The intention to extend the subsidy was initially made at the New Zealand College of Primary Health Care Nurses NZNO conference in Wellington earlier this month.

Dr Scott-Jones says the rural ACC contract is a great example of how a practice team approach to service provision and contracting can make the best use of all the skills that are present within a general practice. This move similarly allows for practice staff to work collaboratively and removes an illogical barrier to the provision of funding.

Dr Scott-Jones says the definition of a general practice team may need further clarification. "For example rural towns that are served by nurse-led clinics with the support of a doctor at distance are growing in number, and specific rural issues like this will need to be taken into account as the further details are worked through. The NZRGPN looks forward to discussions about the implementation of this initiative."

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