Health Care Homes uptake increasing

Amity Health Centre Practice Nurse Anna Boyd, Dr Susie Lawless and Practice Manager Catherine...
Amity Health Centre Practice Nurse Anna Boyd, Dr Susie Lawless and Practice Manager Catherine Daly-Reeve. Photo: Supplied
Almost 40% of patients will be enrolled with Health Care Home GP practices by the middle of this year, Southern District Health Board estimates show.

Health Care Homes are a key part of the health board's Primary and Community Care Strategy and Action Plan, which will restructure healthcare to better integrate health services and focus more on primary and community care.

The homes are described by the health board as a "modernised and more effective model of general practice", which will involve greater use of technology by patients to access information, and more integration of health services at GP clinics.

The first southern practices to become Health Care Homes in July last year were Gore Health Centre, Gore Medical Centre, Queenstown Medical Centre and Amity Medical Centre, in Dunedin.

The second group, in November last year, were Waihopai Health Services, in Invercargill; Broadway Medical Centre, in Dunedin; Junction Health, in Cromwell; and Wanaka Medical Centre and Aspiring Medical Centre, in Wanaka.

A further seven practices will begin the programme in mid-2019: Mornington Health Centre, Mataora Health Centre and Meridian Medical Centre, in Dunedin; the Alexandra Medical Centre practices (comprising the current Centennial, Cornerstone, and Central medical practices); North End Health Centre and their satellite branch Junction Doctors, in Oamaru; Clutha Health First, in Balclutha; and the Invercargill Medical Centre.

By then, the homes would be providing services to about 120,000 people, which was almost 40% of patients enrolled with a GP in the Southern district, a health board spokesperson said.

There had been a "high level of interest" from GP practices wishing to become homes, they said.

Queenstown Medical Centre (QMC) GP Dr Richard Macharg said last year he believed "huge benefit" would accrue to patients from "knowledge and resource sharing across like-minded and aspirational practices" in the homes, which were good models for rural districts.

"Given the isolated nature of the Wakatipu, it is essential that maximum effort is put in to providing the best possible care, as close to home as possible for our enrolled patients. The nature of the Health Care Home as the base for all services to run and be co-ordinated from is one that QMC has operated under since its inception and with which we are very comfortable."

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