Reducing GP fees won't necessarily help those who need it, doctor says

Overworked general practitioners need to see people who need their help, with increased subsidies not necessarily leading to that outcome, according to a leading GP.

The current model was "inefficient" in its use of resource, Dr John Cameron told TVNZ1's Breakfast today.

"We have people who cannot afford to go and see a doctor at the moment, that's being shown in many studies and it's looking at our ED (emergency department) units which are free of charge to turn up, people are turning up there with primary care problems," he said.

"That's an inefficient use of resource and healthcare should be provided in the community."

"How do we target government subsidised funding to those who either need it because of health need or need it because of a financial need?"

Dr Cameron said GPs wanted to be able to provide healthcare targeted to the individual needs of people.

"We want to see the people that we need to see," Dr Cameron said.

"What we want to be to do is anticipate what your health need will be, put more money into that to reduce the barriers and then shift you on from there so we actually try to prevent the ill-health in the first place."

Dr Cameron said the two basic funding models in place currently weren't tailored to the individual.

"One (funding model) is called access funding which provides for the vast majority of our population."

"We have another one called VLCA, which is very low cost access, and that is if your practice has more than per cent Maori, Pacific or quintiles 5, you get a huge bucket of money thrown in but it's extrapolated across your whole population (including non-Maori, Pacific or quintiles 5)," he said.

"So the funding is population based, not individual based."

Overworked GPs need to see people who most need their help, with increased subsidies not necessarily leading to that outcome, Dr Cameron says. Source: Breakfast