The new chief executive of Health Hawke’s Bay believes the current primary care funding model is not fit for purpose.
Irihāpeti Mahuika started her new role on October 31. BayBuzz questioned her about what she would be bringing to the table, and issues she intends to address, with the shortage of GPs a major issue.
Mahuika said the shortage of GPs was a national issue, but Health Hawke’s Bay were thinking about ways to address it.
“Te Whatu Ora has extended the recruitment services they provide for senior hospital doctors to rural practice GPs,” she said.
She said Health Hawke’s Bay were undertaking local initiatives to support the workforce shortage.
“(Examples include “establishing subsidised recruitment agency partnerships, funding relocation expenses and providing incentives for GP Registrars to train in Hawke’s Bay,” she said.
“In addition to recruiting to GP positions we are also expanding the scope of general practice teams by supporting Registered Nurses to become Community Nurse Prescribers and/or Nurse Practitioners and Clinical Advisory Pharmacists to become Prescribing Pharmacists.”
She wants to better understand the how’s and what’s of primary and community healthcare in the region before she commented on what needs to be improved.
“This will help us see what we can support and collaborate on. My first mahi is seeking to understand that. A strong focus on equitable outcomes for our whānau will always be a priority for me.”
With the newly elected government she said there was a “real urgency” for Te Whatu Ora and Te Aka Whai Ora to work with primary and community care providers to reimagine the funding models.
“This is because the primary care funding model developed over 20 years ago is no longer fit for purpose in a post-COVID world and does not reflect the needs of whānau.
“I am extremely excited and humbled to have appointed to this role and look forward to being the kaiārahi for our primary care waka as we navigate the next chapter of our health system journey.”
Irihāpeti was previously the Director of Hauora Māori and Equity at Pegasus Health in Canterbury, one of the largest PHOs in NZ.
She leads the Hauora Māori Primary Care Leadership group, Ngā Matapihi o te Wairua, which brings collaboration and innovation across Aotearoa to support mahi under the aspirations of Pae Ora (Healthy Futures legislation).
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