The new Federation of Primary Health Aotearoa New Zealand is yet to be launched but has already been approached by the Health & Disability Review’s leader, says the Federation’s inaugural chair.

The Federation – that aims to merge and build on current primary health care umbrella groups to create a single voice for primary health – is now inviting applications for membership in the lead-up to formally launching at Parliament in September.

Dame Annette King, the Federation’s independent chair, said the Federation board last month received a letter from Heather Simpson, the chair of the Government’s wide-ranging review of the health system, asking to meet with them.“There’s great excitement that there’s already recognition that we are one body,” said King.

She said the aim of the Federation was to be the voice for primary health and its membership was open to all not-for-profit organisations whose work or members include a primary health care focus.

King said the creation of the Federation was initiated by General Practice New Zealand and the Primary Health Alliance who realised that the way of the future for primary health care was not patch protection but working together including bringing in non-aligned primary health organisations (PHOs), allied health and other voices in primary care.

The first formal meeting of the federation’s establishment board was held in April followinga summit attended by 70 primary health care leaders including  members of the existing primary health umbrella groups like the Primary Health Alliance, General Practice New Zealand, Health Care Aotearoa and the General Practice Leaders Forum as well as leaders from midwifery, allied health, nursing, medicine, NGOs and non-aligned PHOs.

King said it was amazing that within six months the establishment board had nearly signed off all the work required to be operational and arrangements were being made for a formal launch on September 12 at Parliament. Membership of the federation was now open and King said while there was a lot of work to be done to make it succeed as the single voice for primary care, the good will and determination was there.

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