20 September 2013

The template for the 'Back-to-Back' contract between PHOs and Contracted Providers (essentially GP practices) has been released by the Ministry of Health. NZMA are pleased to report that we have had a very good interaction with the Ministry team developing this, along with access to the lawyers (Buddle Findlay) advising on the process.

We believe the contract template is fair and reasonable to both parties and are now happy to recommend it to our members.

 Importantly clauses 3.1 to 3.3 in the contract describe the partnership, clinical governance requirements and “reasonableness” that are required in the relationship between PHOs and General Practice.

Our advocacy has altered some of the clauses significantly, especially those to do with urgent care, and those clauses now require the PHO and DHB to work with General Practice providers to ensure a service is in place without placing unreasonable roster demands on practitioners.

It does remain a contract for service and does carry responsibilities for General Practices and we draw your attention to clause 12 in the memorandum accompanying the contract which suggests independent legal advice might still be appropriate.

PHOs are not bound to use this contract, only to have the few mandatory clauses in their version. NZMA recommends that if your PHO chooses not to use this template and asks you to sign an alternative agreement that you ensure the tenor and requirements of that contract are not disadvantageous to the General Practice provider relative to this agreement.