Services to Improve Access

A key priority for Primary Health Care is to enable groups with the greatest need to access services to improve their health.

The Government’s policy direction is to encourage a multi-disciplinary approach to improving access to health care through the establishment of district alliances to coordinate the provision of health services between secondary, primary and community-based health services.

Services to Improve Access (SIA) funding is available for all PHOs to reduce inequalities among those populations that are known to have the worst health status:

  • Māori
  • Pacific people
  • those living in NZDep index 9–10 decile areas.

The funding is for new services or improved access for high needs patients and is additional to the main PHO capitation funding for general practice-type care. Funds are allocated according to the number of people from these population groups enrolled in the PHO.

The need for high quality primary health services, that are culturally competent, is identified by tangata whenua and Pacific peoples as very important.

Standard conditions for SIA funding

To be approved for funding, the PHO will provide the DHB with proposals for services and activities that:

  • are targeted to high needs persons in its enrolled population identified as Māori/tangata whenua, Pacific peoples and/or people living in NZDep index 9–10 decile areas
  • show that the service or activity is directed at improving the health of these target groups and improving their access to primary health care services
  • provide a clear description of the service to be delivered and steps for implementation including:
    • name of the provider/s who will provide the services
    • a timeframe for commencement of service delivery
    • a budget appropriate to service delivery and management

SIA funding can be used to extend or continue existing services, however the PHO must demonstrate the actual use of SIA funding to ensure that the service is not funded twice.

SIA funding cannot be used to reduce co-payments across the whole enrolled population however, under special circumstances a portion of SIA funding may be used to reduce co-payments if an Access PHO is experiencing significant financial difficulty. In this situation the PHO must meet the following criteria:

  • Access-funded
  • proven financial difficulty in providing first contact services at low co-payments
  • have agreement and approval of the DHB with support from the Ministry.
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