Additional funding for PRIME services announced

Minister Henare announced additional funding for PRIME services at the National Rural Health Conference in Christchurch last week.

Following discussions with Hauora Taiwhenua Rural Health Network, Te Whatu Ora (Health NZ) has provided further funding support to PRIME practices.

This funding will be provided for medical attendances and clinical triage calls and paid on-top of baseline funding for the 2022/23 year.

The funding is not for injury related incidents, as these are funded directly by ACC. The payments will be backdated to 1 July 2022 for services already delivered.

PRIME practices have been concerned for some time that the services they provide, to respond to emergencies when no ambulance services are immediately available in rural and remote areas, are financially unsustainable.

The upcoming review of the PRIME model and funding by Te Whatu Ora will investigate areas of improvement to ensure services are better equipped to meet the needs of rural and remote communities.

Hauora Taiwhenua Chief Executive Dr Grant Davidson says that this extra funding will be a great relief to PRIME practices who have been asking for recognition when responding to medical emergencies for many years.

“This will provide some financial ‘breathing space’ for those practices while the full review of the services is carried out,” he says.

“This is a great example of the new HealthNZ entity Te Whatu Ora being responsive and agile in identifying a serious issue and responding appropriately.

“This is encouraging for the future, and we thank the staff of Te Whatu Ora for listening and acting,” Dr Davidson says.