Hospital investment need to be matched with primary care investment
If the Government wants to minimise Covid-19 disruption to planned and routine care, funding announced today to upgrade hospitals should be matched with a funding boost to primary care, says Chair of the New Zealand Medical Association’s General Practitioner Council, Vanessa Weenink.
“Once again, it seems General Practice is an afterthought – with no similar funding for the same Doctors who have worked so hard to keep communities safe and patients out of hospital during the pandemic,” Vanessa says.
“Minister Little himself recognises that the vast majority of people who get COVID won’t need to go to hospital, let alone need an ICU bed - yet the Government has failed to provide meaningful support to sustain General Practice.
“General Practice has been disproportionately impacted by a long-standing under investment in health, and this urgently needs to be rectified if we want to prevent our hospitals from being overwhelmed by Covid patients and huge waiting lists of deferred care.
“Much of the deferred hospital-work has been shunted to Primary Care, and many referrals to hospitals are being rejected and sent to General Practice for management.
“It’s really tough to consistently deliver the world-leading patient care New Zealanders expect when General Practice is running off the smell of an oily rag.
“The forthcoming health system reforms are an opportunity to recognise and invest in primary care – and recognise General Practice for the important work they do in their communities to protect the health New Zealanders.
“Health care provided in the community makes the largest contribution to the health of New Zealanders, and General Practice Doctors are committed to the communities they work in and the families they care for,” Vanessa says.
The NZ Medical Association is New Zealand’s largest medical organisation with about 5000 members from all areas of medicine. The NZMA aims to provide leadership of the medical profession, and to promote professional unity and values, and the health of all New Zealanders.