General practice share thoughts on capacity and demand in Waitaha | Canterbury

More than 200 general practice staff from across Waitaha | Canterbury have shared their thoughts and experiences around the growing pressures on general practice, in a survey open throughout June.

The survey was sent out by the CCN Primary Care Taskforce (PCTF), which was established earlier this year to coordinate local leadership on ways to address the increasing capacity pressures in primary care, which is impacting our communities’ access to primary care. 

The survey explored four key areas; current issues affecting capacity in general practice, current and future workforce shortages, initiatives implemented or planned to increase capacity and finally thoughts on where / how the PCTF should focus their efforts. 

Responses highlighted the need to reduce and find better ways to deal with increasing clinical administration, the importance of both recruiting and retaining General Practitioners (GPs) and Practice Nurses (PNs) and the need to diversify primary care teams to bring in additional healthcare staff, such as clinical assistants, pharmacists, and nurse practitioners. 

Speaking on behalf of the PCTF, Chair Kim Burgess said the group was thrilled with both the number of responses and the well-considered and comprehensive feedback. 

“This highlights the passion and motivation from practice teams to improve our community’s access to primary care and the value they place on supporting this local work,” says Kim.

“We created the survey to guide the work of the PCTF to enhance models and make changes locally that will reduce the demand on general practice and improve community access to care. It will also be used to advocate to local and national bodies.”

The need to minimise unnecessary administration came through very clearly, so the current focus for the PCTF includes supporting practice teams to adopt more efficient ways to manage inboxes and referrals.  This work will require the group to work closely with colleagues in secondary care who are facing their own growing capacity issues.

The PCTF are also running a series of focus groups exploring possible ways to retain GPs and PNs who are contemplating leaving or retirement and exploring ways to increase involvement of other potential team members, including clinical assistants and practice based clinical pharmacists. 

The PCTF is also working with partners to find ways to incorporate/ implement local solutions in response to this feedback.

Download a summary of the survey results here. More information and updates from the PCTF can be found here

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