21 Mar 2011

Health system money badly allocated, GP claims

6:46 am on 21 March 2011

A South Island GP says there is a lot of money in the health system but it is being poorly allocated.

GP Murray Tilliard told the Rural GP Network's annual conference in Wellington that he has never seen so much money sloshing around the health system, nor has he seen so much wastage in a long time.

Dr Tilliard says the problem is communicating with district health board (DHB) colleagues.

He says it's possible to do this individually but GPs cannot seem to get access to decision making, and the challenge is to work more smartly with colleagues, rather than needing more money.

The new chair of the GP network, Jo Scott-Jones, rejects the suggestion there's a lot of money around for GPs.

He says he believes they are all working on tight budgets and the amalgamation of public health organisations has come with a funding decrease.

Dr Scott-Jones agrees that relationships need to be built between GPs and DHBs, but he says health dollars spent in the primary sector produce better results.

He says the more primary care providers the cheaper the system, the more specialists the more expensive the system is.

Dr Scott-Jones says primary care providers also provide better outcomes for patients than specialists do.

He says that means there should be more investment in primary care and preventative medicine than in ambulances at the bottom of the cliff.