Interesting to read in The Letter that increasing numbers of Doctors are turning to politics, frustrated with "the public health sector," which "despite having billions of dollars poured into it, has become bloated, overly bureaucratic and bogged down with ever expanding waiting lists", as Jackie Blue commented in her maiden speech.
The College of GPs
released a report in December which warns that unless the Govt actively encourages the training, recruitment and retention of GPs, we could have a severe shortage in as little as 10 years. GPs are an absolutely crucial part of our health system. Yet the increased work loads, such as the 2&1/2 hrs more paper work they are required to do since the implementation of Labour's PHO
(Public Health Organisations) strategy, means that 1/3 of GPs plan to have left their profession within 5 years.
The increase in paper work is a small wonder, considering the requirements that a PHO must meet to qualify for the funding:
1. Recording of ethnicity for 85% of the patient register;
2. Complete reporting of practitioner information with sufficient data already
supplied to enable baseline measurement of the performance indicators;
3. Completion of contractual requirements contained in the PHO contract e.g.
annual report and Service Utilisation Reports including the Immunisation
component with sufficient data for baseline measurement of the performance
indicators. In addition, PHOs must be compliant with the fees agreement;
4. A signed contract of the current nationally agreed PHO Service Agreement
with the DHB;
Once these 4 pre-requisites are met the PHO will complete an Establishment Plan
identifying establishment timelines and the process for developing their PHO
Performance Management Plan. Once a PHO has completed their establishment plan
and the DHB approved it, they will receive 50% of the set up fee.
It is these sorts of picky requirements that cause the extra workload for GPs, and I for one don't blame the 1/3 of them who want to leave. The PHO strategy has not been effective.
What it should be doing is letting Doctors do the hands on work they are trained to do, and ensuring that they have sufficient funding to hire other people to do the NECESSARY paperwork.
In general, every system that Labour has created in NZ has been overflowing with too much paperwork, too much red tape and too many people doing not enough productive work. Frankly, the result of Labour's investment of tax-payers' money in these systems is pathetic.