Free health checks plan

The Southern Primary Health Organisation has approved a $300,000 initiative supporting free primary healthcare measures for "high needs" patients, chief executive Ian Macara said.

Taking effect yesterday, the extra funding was for cardiovascular risk assessments, diabetes reviews, smears, quit smoking services, and flu jabs.

High needs patients were defined as those living in deprived areas, Maori and Pacific Islanders.

Mr Macara said the funding had been carried over from dis-established PHOs which merged to form Southern PHO in 2010.

The PHO was not meeting many of the national targets for primary healthcare services for high needs patients.

Mr Macara pointed out that other PHOs were not doing much better.

"We are all [the PHOs] trying like hell to improve," he said.

Availability of the free checks would be publicised, he said.

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