I’m sure by now many of you have already read headlines anywhere from NZ Doctor to Stuff.co.nz regarding the government's offer of 3 per cent increase in capitation funding – against a backdrop of inflation levels of 6.9 per cent.
Yesterday I attended the Primary Care Caucus meeting, followed by the PSAAP meeting. It’s no secret that talks broke down in yesterday’s session, with some meeting participants leaving the meeting table. I, along with my PHO colleagues, was not part of that walk out for one clear reason: to continue being part of the conversation we have to be at the table. However I fully support those who did walk away and agree wholeheartedly that 3 per cent is not nearly enough to ensure the sustainability of primary care.
While I have no crystal ball, I personally believe from here it is highly likely the government will impose a compulsory variation. So at this time we’ll move forward with budget planning for next year based on what we know now.
Kia hauora te katoa, kia puaawai te katoa - Everyone healthy, everyone thriving.
This is Pinnacle's vision – we want our communities, our practices and our primary health care workforce to thrive. And we know this funding announcement is detrimental to that vision. The challenges and complexities we face today are simply not supported by a 25-year old funding formula.
Already we see a range of issues such as closed books, long waiting times for routine appointments, severe workforce shortages, services being cut, widening pay gaps between primary and DHB salaries.
While there is an $86 million dollar investment over four years promised in the budget to address the funding formula, it may not be soon enough to ensure sustainability of your practice in the here and now. Please speak to us if you need to increase fees to keep operating in line with the goals you have for your practice.
You can also contact us for support on other ways to ease some of the issues you face, whether it is fine tuning your telephone triage, balancing roles and responsibilities across staff to ensure people can work at top of scope, using data to identify and target patients who would benefit most, offering alternatives to in-person consults or getting the most benefit out of your patient portal we have lots of ways in which we can help you deliver a better experience for your patients and staff while helping to improve your business sustainability.
We are always here to help, and we want to hear from you.
Justin Butcher, Chief executive