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Report shows 1 million people are missing out on seeing their general practice – GPNZ

The New Zealand Health Survey published last week shows one in five adults – roughly one million people – can’t get to see their general practice, with ‘time taken to get an appointment too long’ being the most commonly reported barrier, followed by cost.

Time taken to get an appointment as a barrier to accessing care has increased from 11.6 per cent to 21.2 per cent in just one year.

“New Zealand’s general practices are dealing with more complex medical needs, increased pressure from patients, workforce shortages and a funding system that has not kept pace with demand,” says Porirua-based Specialist General Practitioner and Chair of General Practice New Zealand, Dr Bryan Betty.

“New Zealanders need to be able to access care in the community earlier, but that is failing with the end result being overflowing emergency departments and hospitals at capacity, “adds Dr Betty.

International evidence points to access to general practice leading to less hospital admissions, less emergency department presentations and longer life expectancy.

The Sapere report published last year pointed to significant under investment alongside issues with the way funding is structured. Investment in primary care is a key component to getting our health system back on track.

“Our capitation-based funding system needs redesign. We need to rebalance the health system with investment in primary care is now before the situation worsens,” Dr Betty goes onto say.

Primary health organisations (PHOs) are eager to work in partnership with Te Whatu Ora and policy makers on workforce, model of care and funding solutions that promote access, equity and outcomes.

“We had a world class health system – we cannot allow that to be put at risk. The time for action is now.”


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