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Changing faces and strong 2024 intentions for General Practice New Zealand

General Practice New Zealand wraps up another massive year with some warm welcomes, and some hard goodbyes.

“We welcome new members to our Executive Committee for the year ahead – Barbara Stevens, CEO of Auckland PHO; Dr Francesco Lentini, Board member of ProCare Health; Mark Vella CEO of Total Healthcare; and Mary Morrissey, Chair of The Practice Managers and Administrators Association of New Zealand (PMAANZ),” says GPNZ Chair, Dr Bryan Betty.

Dr Betty adds it was great to see a robust group of nominations for roles on the Executive this year, a sign of great involvement from the membership.

“We want to thank departing members for their work on behalf of GPNZ – Dr Craig King (ProCare), Dr Hina Lutui (The Cause Collective) and Kiri Peita (Western Bay of Plenty Primary Health Organisation),’ Dr Betty added.

“We also want to acknowledge membership services manager Jess Morgan-French, who after two fantastic years with GPNZ is moving on in January to become interim chief executive of Collaborative Aotearoa.”

Jess’s mahi has helped steer our membership rōpū to the strong and structured groups they now are, providing collegial support, shared learning and a conduit for advice and information sharing between primary care and national agencies that ensures we contribute to health decision-making at the highest levels.

“Jess has been an incredible asset to GPNZ, and to PHOs and primary care, and we will miss her enormously. We are heartened that she remains in the sector, and know Collaborative Aotearoa will benefit from Jess’s knowledge, experience, relationships and passion.”

Focus for the year ahead

Dr Betty summed up a successful year for GPNZ at its recent AGM, noting that its approach and trusted relationships confirms it as the ‘go to’ organisation for primary care collaboration and solutions.

Major challenges continue to drive the work programme ahead for 2024:

  • co-designing strong and stable network support functions, building on the expertise and leadership in PHOs
  • a continued focus on equitable health outcomes for all, in particular for Māori, Pasifika and rural communities
  • the stabilisation and recovery of general practice at the heart of primary and community care
  • rapid implementation of initiatives to expand, develop and value the primary care workforce.

GPNZ has extended an invitation to meet to newly appointed Minister of Health, Hon. Dr Shane Reti and his Associate Ministers, to discuss key issues and share solutions and opportunities. Further discussion topics relate to emerging policy issues for the new Government.

“Obviously the announcement regarding the Smokefree legislation has generated major of concerns, and we want to understand the Government’s planned actions to support continued reduction in rates of smoking and vaping, and the associated harm, particularly for our most vulnerable populations.

“We also seek clarity on the Government’s alternative plans and commitment to delivering equity and improved health outcomes to Māori given the clear intention to disestablish Te Aka Whai Ora, and we also want to understand its commitments to Pasifika health and rural health.

“We look forward to working with the new Minister and supporting the delivery of real change that our sector urgently needs to see in the year ahead.”


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