By: Miranda Cook

The Primary Care Patient Experience has shone a light on the state of New Zealand’s health service. (Photo 123RF)

The cost of going to a GP is a main factor in stopping people who need medical help from visiting a doctor.

A report, The Primary Care Patient Experience, has revealed what areas of primary care are doing well and what areas aren’t.

More than 20 per cent of participants involved in the survey reported they have been unable to make an appointment due to the cost involved.

Furthermore, Māori and Pasifika people are less likely to go to their GP, compared to European New Zealanders a reflection of socioeconomic disparity.

President of the Royal New Zealand College of GPs Dr Tim Malloy said this needs to change.

“Working with the Government as we are currently to address the cost access barriers is an imperative if we are to begin to solve some of these particular problems.”

The report by the Health Quality and Safety Commission has also shown that patients think communication between different health agencies isn’t up to scratch.

30 per cent of people surveyed reported their GP was not always informed about hospital stays or follow-up plans, while eight per cent believe they had been given the wrong medication or dosage.

Dr Malloy said streamlining services would be a solution but it’s not that simple.

“In the modern era of information technology, there is absolutely no reason why this shouldn’t be relative seamless, yet there are still issues, so clearly there is room for improvement.”

However, the report does reveal one positive for the magazine industry: it seems patients aren’t bothered by the amount of time they spend waiting in a doctors surgery before they see a GP.

85 per cent of people surveyed believe current wait times are acceptable.

The document also shows that patients find their doctors kind and respectful.

Dr Malloy said this is vital in ensuring patients get the most out of their health care.

“The doctor-patient relationship is paramount, it means everything to both patient and doctors. These measures, if you like, of integrity are critical to the success factor within that relationship.”

Source: Newstalk ZB

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