Over the past 10 years the public health system has invested heavily in buildings; modernising, upgrading and enlarging our hospitals. This investment was needed to see the continuation of specialist services and the increased capacity to meet the increased demands of an ageing population.
However, hospitals alone will not meet or solve the health needs of New Zealand. Primary care needs investment in order to grow. Not simply increased access (much of the focus of policy for the last ten years) but an investment in and the development of a new approach - a primary care system that better bridges the gap between public service funding and private ownership of the facilities and the workforce.
Over the past five years, conversations amongst GPs and nurses in Midlands Health Network have started to focus on many of these issues, both in rural and urban settings. The question of how to address these issues has started to drive a ground swell of change.
This document is about that conversation and reflects the efforts of many doctors, nurses, pharmacists, St John, DHB staff and primary care staff working together to address these issues and develop a New Zealand primary care system that puts the patient at the centre, cares for the patient and their family while also ensuring a sustainable provision of care.