I am hoping to attract MacDoctor's attention and expert input. Health is not a sector I have studied in any depth. So I stand to be corrected on the following conclusion.
Waiting in the surgery with my poorly (that's an old-fashioned term for sick) daughter days back I overheard the receptionist telling someone via phone that the practice could not see them because they weren't registered there. She gave a number to ring where someone would tell them which Hutt Valley practices were taking on patients or the caller could go on the waiting list to be taken on at that particular practice.
Another incident was recently recounted to me about a young woman who turned up with shingles or chicken pox at a pharmacy. The virus was getting near her eyes and the pharmacist was very worried about her and tried ringing several practices in an effort to get her in front of a GP.
As I understand it, Labour poured an extra couple of billion into primary health. They changed GP funding. GPs are now paid per capita. That is they are paid for each enrolled patient whether they see them or not. I have heard that the DHBs are now becoming quite frustrated with some GPs because they are taking time off. And they are not enrolling new patients. Apparently GPs describe the problematic situation as an economic one. But it has been suggested to me it is an ethical one.
Not long ago we needed a plumber urgently. It was a Saturday morning and we had a burst main flooding the garden. I deal with a fantastic outfit, and a plumber was there within a couple of hours. He worked all day to fix the problem. He was able to go and get the supplies he needed because hardware stores open all weekend because they are staffed by people prepared to work all weekend.
But if you need to see your doctor urgently, even when he has been paid to see you, frequently it's an impossibility. GP practices work very limited hours. So the alternative is hospital emergency services or after hours - neither of whom has been paid to see you. (It could be argued that the hospital has, indirectly, but you will pay through the nose at the after hours.)
Outcome; Labour upped the spend on primary health substantially for no increase in productivity.
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