PHOs give communities, iwi and enrolled people the opportunity to have their say about the services PHOs provide. They have a set amount of funding from the government to subsidise a range of health services. The funding is based on the numbers and characteristics (e.g. age, sex, ethnicity) of people enrolled with them. This funding pays for:
You can choose the doctor or medical centre that you visit. To check where you’re currently enrolled, call the Ministry of Health 0800 458 448. Click here to find your nearest General Partitioner.
Most General Practices offer zero-fee visits for children under 13 years of age which means children under age of 13 years not charged $5 charge for each item of perscripiton medicines, though other charges may apply. Immunisation is also free for all children even if they are not eligible for publicly funded health services.
DHBs are resposnible for ensuring that children under 13 years of age have access to zero fee after-hours care and prescription medicines within reasonable travel time (maximum of one hour). For more information, visit Ministry of Health(external link) website.
It is easy. Ask at your usual family doctor practice to see if it is part of a local Primary Health Organisation (PHO) and if it is, make sure you have enrolled. You will need to sign an enrolment form, which means you are then on the books.
You can only enrol in one PHO at a time, but you can change PHOs if you wish. If you are away from home and get sick, you can still see a doctor in the area you are visiting.
An important concept for people who belong to a PHO practice is the concept of continuity – the added value that comes from a long-term relationship that people have with their health provider.
Care Plus is a service introduced through Primary Health Organisations (PHOs) and is aimed at people who need to visit their family GP or Nurse often because of significant chronic illnesses such as diabetes or heart disease, have acute medical or mental health needs, or a terminal illness.
If you have a long-term health condition or a terminal illness, you may be eligible for Care Plus(external link). GPs get extra government funding for Care Plus patients, so can provide additional care at no further cost to the patient.
Some general practices join a ‘low cost access’ programme run by their primary health organisation. This means they get extra government funding to keep their fees at low levels.