Background Information

The New Zealand Public Health and Disability Act 2000 gives District Health Boards (DHB's) overall responsibility for assessing the health and disability needs of communities in their regions, and managing resources and service delivery to best meet those needs. DHB's are supported by the Ministry of Health, which is the national policy advice, regulating, funding and monitoring agency.

Services are then organised around the needs of a defined group of people. Primary Health Organisations (PHO's) are the local structures to achieve this. DHB's work through PHO's to achieve health goals locally.

Lumsden Medical Centre is a primary health care practice formed in 1997. Our PHO is Hokonui Primary Health Organisation whose DHB is Southland District Health Board.

But what is primary health care?

Essential health care based on practical, scientifically sound, culturally appropriate and socially acceptable methods that is:

- universally accessible to people in their communities;

- involves community participation;

- integral to, and a central function of, New Zealand's health system;

- the first level of contact with our health system.

A strong primary health care system is central to improving the health of New Zealanders and, in particular, tackling inequalities in health. The 2001 Primary Health Care Strategy outlines the vision of a new direction for primary health care with a greater emphasis on population health and the role of the community. Six key directions for primary health care are envisaged:

- work with local communities and enrolled populations;

- identify and remove health inequalities;

- offer access to comprehensive services to improve, maintain and restore people's health;

- co-ordinate care across service areas;

- develop the primary health care workforce;

- continuously improve quality using good information. 

Lumsden Medical Centre, 58 Garden Street, PO Box 20, Lumsden, Southland, New Zealand

Tel: +64 3 248 7146