Primary Care Funding Update 27 January 2023

Primary Care Funding Update 27 January 2023

Kia ora koutou,

Firstly thank you for your ongoing hard work to support the pandemic response. We would like to acknowledge the hard work that our healthcare workforce undertakes every day to care for their communities. Resilience in the face of a pandemic is not an easy ask. We’ve been asked to do and manage a lot of change and our efforts have been and continue to be admirable. There is of course a need to start looking forward and make moves to manage COVID-19 like other respiratory illness.

Since the beginning of December 2022, Te Whatu Ora has been engaging with the Primary Care Sector Stakeholder Leaders to support our transition from pandemic response to targeted care for patients with COVID-19.

During the engagement meetings between Te Whatu Ora leaders and sector leads representing Primary Care, Urgent Care, Tertiary Care alongside our health agency partners Te Aka Whai Ora and Manatū Hauora, we have had robust discussion on the review and development of the Guidance for Primary Care Funding for COVID-19. This partnered approach was to ensure we focussed on the clinical needs of our patients whilst recognising the reset and resize of the COVID-19 health system response.

The changes reflect an acknowledgement of all of our work to ensure we have very high vaccination and hybrid immunity, people can access RATs for self-testing, a wide availability of PPE, and our communities have become familiar with self-isolating and self-management of COVID-19. The care of COVID-19 patients is not as onerous, risky or time consuming as it was at the beginning of the pandemic.

The final documents from our collaborative work over the last few weeks are attached to this email. Included is the reviewed and revised Guidance for Primary Care Funding for COVID-19 and FAQs.

This funding model aligns with the current COVID-19 testing plan, public health measures and current policy settings. The funding transition we have been discussing reflects the evolution of how COVID-19 is being managed, from a pandemic to a targeted intervention response for those at higher risk of poorer health outcomes.

COVID-19 funding is time-bound through to the end of June 2023 and as such we need to focus our efforts on supporting priority populations and those disproportionately affected as a result of COVID-19. COVID-19 healthcare for people outside of these priority populations will be provided on the same basis as other illnesses. This important change will be supported by a public communications programme.

Looking ahead, we will continue to work across the health system and plan for COVID-19 in 2023, and beyond, based on the latest modelling, the impact of new variants, potential waning immunity, and the affect COVID-19 is having on New Zealanders and the New Zealand health system.

Once again thank you again for all your support. Should you have any queries, please direct these to the COVID-19 Care in the Community team.

Ngā mihi nui

Karyn Cardno 

Acting Group Manager, COVID Care in the Community

133 Molesworth Street, Wellington | PO Box 5013, Wellington 6140