LEVIN FAMILY HEALTH - Open 1st August 2023


Gary says... We all need to consider the impact of the General Practice Funding Update: A Call for URGENT Action

Kia ora,

The New Zealand government recently announced its annual funding for general practice (GP) services. Once again, the funding increase is insufficient to cover the true costs of operating GP services, leaving practices to subsidize patient care. For 20 of the past 21 years, increases have not kept pace with the cost-of-living index. This chronic underfunding has put GPs across New Zealand under significant pressure, causing some to retire early or close their practices, thereby jeopardizing essential medical services in communities.

Quality care requires adequate investment in general practice due to increasing GP numbers of patients requiring health services. However, neither the current budget nor the Te Whatu Ora funding offer adequately addresses these needs. Consequently, GPs face difficult decisions: either raise fees or reduce services, neither of which benefits patients. GP representatives are likely to reject the government's inadequate offer of a 4% increase, as it is insufficient to maintain services and meet patient needs. Rising labor costs, increased demand, and regulatory requirements have escalated the operational costs of general practice without corresponding funding increases, creating an untenable financial burden for practice owners.

This inadequate funding will shift the cost burden to patients, making GP visits unaffordable for many. This will lead to overcrowded emergency departments and patients being unable to afford treatment, worsening inequality for those most at risk. GP practices can no longer support government funding shortfalls. If you are concerned about this situation, please email the Minister of Health, Dr. Shane Reti, at s.reti@ministers.govt.nz.

  This deplorable situation will likely result in further changes to how we provide patient care. To survive, our service delivery model will have to continue evolving. Significant changes to the traditional GP model have already been made, and more changes are inevitable. At Levin Family Health, we are under immense pressure to provide meaningful services to our patients and are truly trying our best to facilitate exceptional patient care. Our administration staff need your patience to manage your inquiries, and our clinical staff are fully focused on providing the best possible care

We understand that wait times are frustrating, and we are working hard to manage appointments efficiently and effectively. We appreciate your understanding, and please remember that abusive behavior will not improve the situation. We believe that addressing your frustrations to the Minister of Health is the first step towards achieving better outcomes for yourself and others.

Starting 1 July, all antiviral assessment requests will incur a $20.00 assessment fee, regardless of whether you are prescribed the antiviral or not. An urgent prescription fee of $50.00 will also apply. Antivirals are available from pharmacies, and an assessment fee will be payable if a pharmacy refers a patient to us for clinical advice. Additionally, the Covid Telehealth Services, including the Covid Healthline (0800 358 5453), will be decommissioned from 1 July 2024. For advice about Covid, please call Healthline at 0800 611 116. Free Covid-19 vaccinations, including funded administration of the vaccine, will remain available to those who meet the eligibility criteria and are available from many pharmacies offering these vaccinations.

 We are currently experiencing higher incidences of Covid within our communities, and vaccination remains the best prevention. Stay safe.