The Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners are keen to hear more about the Prime Minister’s focus on primary health care, following the comments she made to media yesterday.
Appearing on The AM Show, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said, in response to comments about New Zealand’s emergency departments being overrun, that she’d, ‘like to see us really focus on preventing people from ending up in ED in the first place.’
President of the College, Dr Samantha Murton said, "we couldn’t agree more because that’s our focus too and we’re currently hampered in doing it.
"General practitioners - where the majority of New Zealanders get their primary health care - are a workforce under immense pressure with a shortage of GPs across the country, GPs being stressed and burnt out, and mountains of paperwork because we are doing our absolutely best to deliver quality healthcare in a broken health system.
"These are all issues that we addressed with Minister of Health Andrew Little at a meeting on 12 March and ones that we’re very keen to resolve."
Tomorrow (Wednesday 31 March) the College will share the results of its biennial Workforce Survey, which will back up the significance of the issues within general practice, and the unsustainability of the primary health care system long-term.
The Prime Minister’s full comments, that people come into emergency departments with, ‘preventable illnesses that have just got away on us [because] they haven’t been treated properly in primary care’ didn’t go down well with the sector.
Dr Bryan Betty spent his day yesterday working at his practice in Cannons Creek and it was a challenging day. He is also the medical director of the College and says, "the professionalism, dedication, and hard work of our colleagues is widely recognised and these comments don’t reflect that.
"I’d like to invite the Prime Minister out to my practice to see first-hand the range and complexity of cases that GPs see every working day.
"We know there are significant issues in the sector, and we need reform; we’re asking for support at a Government level to ensure the sustainability of community medicine in New Zealand," he says.