New strategy to improve Māori health outcomes

College news
4 March 2017

On Saturday 4 March 2017 the College launched its refreshed Māori Strategy 2017-2021 ‘He Ihu Waka, He Ihu Whenua, He Ihu Tangata’ at the Sudima Hotel in Auckland. Māori health providers, key stakeholders, College and sector representatives were invited to attend the event, along with members of the College’s Māori Chapter - Te Akoranga a Māui.

Chapter Chair Dr Kēri Rātima and College President Dr Tim Malloy spoke at the launch, and outlined the College’s commitment to improving health outcomes for Māori patients and to training more Māori GPs.

“Statistics show us that non-Māori have better health outcomes and live longer than Māori.  Addressing poor Māori health outcomes is not just about the doctor/patient relationship.  It’s about resource allocation, funding, and the broader primary health sector,” said Dr Malloy.

“As a practicing rural GP, I know that rural Māori have considerably poorer health outcomes than rural non-Māori and to me, that is unacceptable,” he said. 

“General practitioners play a significant role in the health sector as they are typically the first medical professionals to diagnose health conditions. We are in the unique position of providing community-based care, often over the course of a patient’s lifetime.  
“This gives us the ability, and the responsibility, to help address these health inequities. To this end, the College has made a long term commitment to help improve Māori health outcomes.”

Dr Rātima said the refreshed strategy included four ngā Pou (strategic pillars): Poutokomanawa: Mātauranga Māori (Māori Knowledge), Poutuarongo (Quality), Pouaro (Leadership and Advocacy) and Poupou (Workforce Development).

“The College has 152 Māori GPs, so the vast majority of Māori are seen by non-Māori GPs. We have therefore set ourselves a goal of increasing the Māori cultural competency of our GP workforce.  This will help ensure consultations including treatment planning are offered in a way that resonates with Māori patients,” said Dr Rātima.

“We also recognise the need to train more Māori GPs and we will be actively working with medical schools to achieve this.  By 2021, it is envisioned that 22 percent of the doctors that enter our General Practice Education Programme will be Māori,” she said.
Following the strategy document’s unveiling and blessing, guests marked the occasion by enjoying a shared lunch.

View or download the College’s refreshed Māori Strategy 2017-2021 ‘He Ihu Waka, He Ihu Whenua, He Ihu Tangata’


Attendees at Saturday's launch event included College President Tim Malloy, Te Akoranga a Māui Chairperson Kēri Rātima, Chapter members, and sector representatives.