Health Te Aroha – Feeling the benefit

Hayley Scott, GP Owner writes…

Health Care Home is about shifting general practice from a reactive service, to one where all doctors’ or nurses’ consults are planned with the patient. Six years in, our patients and our staff are both better off for it. The way we work means more ‘urgent’ patients on our roll of 5,500 are seen on the day of their appointment, with less urgent needs treated in alternative ways such as over the phone, via virtual consults using a patient portal so they don’t have to come in, or at an appropriate time later in the week. 

Now in our practice each GP has just 20 appointment slots daily, with two reserved for paperwork, one for phone consults, and one for phone triage. We have more time to deal with necessary paperwork without overloading ourselves. 

As a result of increasing capacity with the same FTE and managing urgent care demand more effectively we have not had to use locums for the past two years, even when a GP was off for 3 months unexpectedly. This, together with ‘seeing’ more patients through the use of virtual care, has resulted in a small year-on-year increase in financial turnover. 

With our increased turnover, the Directors decided to take a bit more time off having run faster to stand still for a number of years and having appointed more GPs. We had no difficulty finding GPs, even in our rural area, as they were previous registrars who enjoyed the new model of care. 

Hauraki Plains Health Centre – On the path

The owners of Hauraki Plains Health Centre were considering walking away from their practice rather than face burn out when the Health Care Home offered them a vision of a sustainable way forward. Dr Antony Smit, who owns the practice with his wife Bronwyn, said: “We face all the same issues any other practices face as well as the overwhelming health needs of an ageing population.

Change from the Old School relieves the pressure

Nikki Sargent is Operations and Services Manager at Northcare, one of the original pilot sites for Health Care Home, she says while things aren’t every going to stop being busy, the model enables them to deal with the pressure better.

Cool, Calm and Collected – transforming reception

Janice Phillips is a Medical Centre Assistant at Northcare and says adopting the Health Care Home model has improved things for staff and patients alike. Janice worked as a medical receptionist prior to becoming and MCA and feels the enhanced role helps greatly with patient flow freeing up clinical time and enabling patients to get better care.