Clinic consultation

General practitioner practices on the verge of collapse, according to a collective of clinics

Friday was a good day at Henderson’s 24 hour clinic in Whitecross.

Clinical director Dr Simon Vari said on this sweltering Friday in Auckland there was only a two and a half hour wait to be seen.

“When they walk through the door, we usually tell people it’s going to be about four hours,” he said.

“We get small batches of people arriving during the day. It lasts into the night because we are 24 hours a day. We have a doctor overnight, so they could start the shift with 35 people waiting .

“You’re not going to get through this – it’s impossible.”

His practice is part of GenPro, a group of 1000 GP practices. Its leaders say primary care is faltering – directly linked to shortages of doctors and nurses and a lack of government funding.

Labor shortages mean its practices limit registrations, reduce opening hours and have cut some services altogether.

Patients at 45% of GenPro practices – which claim to serve 2.5 million Kiwis – have to wait a week or more for a routine consultation.

According to Dr Gerald Young, GenPro wants the government to commit to a nine-point plan to address the sector’s problems. That plan, along with an open letter to Health Minister Andrew Little, was released this evening.

He says complaints from primary doctors have been well documented, but there never seems to be a plan to address these medical issues.

“The record is stuck because the pattern is broken,” Young said.

“I’m surprised that not every practice in New Zealand has a fee review. I don’t know how some practices will survive.”

Little says 1News, he is well aware of the problems faced by the sector.

“When you have after-hours clinics that cut their hours because they can’t get coverage, you have GP clinics that close because they can’t take any patients — these things are real.”

The Cabinet had considered a plan to address pay parity issues for generalist nurses and Little said it was prepared to reconsider the capitation funding model.

“I think there’s a lot to look at here. There was a bit of a technical review that was very focused on fairness considerations.

“But the other comment I get from doctors is they spend a lot more time with a lot of their patients, especially the older patients, and the funding regime doesn’t match that. »