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PHOs Better For NZers With Multiple Chronic Illnesses

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
PHOs Better For NZers With Multiple Chronic Illnesses

Wellington, Aug 3 NZPA - New Zealand's primary health organisations (PHOs) have helped clinicians better treat New Zealanders suffering from multiple chronic illnesses, trans-Tasman researchers have found.

The research was led by University of Sydney medical school research director Clive Aspin, and published in the latest Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health.

People with more than one chronic illness tended to have each condition treated by itself, but PHOs meant most patients were enrolled with and consistently seen by one health provider, which helped ensure general practitioners knew about their multiple conditions.

Dr Aspin said Australia lacked such networks "and the provision of funding, policy and service delivery across different levels of government inhibits coordination".

However, there was room for improvement in New Zealand's health policy for better prevention and management of multiple chronic illnesses.

More than half of New Zealand adults suffered more than one chronic illnesses, such as heart disease, diabetes or osteoarthritis, which accounted for more than 80 percent of deaths.

Healthcare workers needed guidelines on how to care for people with multiple chronic illnesses so they could treat them in combination, and policy makers needed to work with clinicians and patients to develop those guidelines, he said.

A lack of policy specifically addressing multiple illnesses suggested "an inefficient use of health funds", he said.

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