In all countries, more socially disadvantaged groups have poorer health, greater exposure to health risks and poorer access to health services. We released a position statement about eliminating health inequities in February 2012.
Read our position statement on health equity
The College is committed to achieving health equity in Aotearoa/New Zealand and believes the Government must place greater emphasis on eliminating health inequities between population groups.
Key points included:
Focusing on the determinants of health is crucial if health inequities are to be eliminated – initiatives in other sectors will have the biggest impact (e.g. labour, welfare, education, housing).
Appropriate and accessible primary health care is also a key aspect of reducing health inequities in Aotearoa/New Zealand. General practitioners (GPs) are encouraged to take a population health, as well as individual, approach. This will involve monitoring inequities within practice populations and regularly reassessing their own practices to ensure treatment and management decisions contribute to improving health equity for individuals and communities.
The College supports health services being better integrated with other community services, such as whānau ora, as a means of addressing inequities for at-risk families. GPs are encouraged to make links with integrated services, including whānau ora providers, and contribute where appropriate.
The College supports a review of the funding model for primary health care to ensure funding is targeted towards the most disadvantaged. Funding models are required for primary health care that provide extra financial support to ensure high-quality and appropriate care for disadvantaged patients and population groups.
As evidence has demonstrated the impact of low income on health inequities and that health inequities begin early and compound over the life course, the College believes Government should fund free primary health care for low income families.