More people, more demand

31 July 2017

CE Jim Green

For those working directly with people needing health care in Tairāwhiti, this piece of news is unlikely to be surprising - the enrolled population of people in primary care in Tairāwhiti has increased by 1,170 people or %2.5 in the last 12 months.

This rise is certainly unusual. While our population has been growing, it has generally been at a rate lower than the national average. This has had implications for our funding as a DHB, with funding lower than average for the sector funding growth.

The rise is a factor in the increase of presentations to general practices and Gisborne Hospital, both for acute and planned services. Coupled with an aging population and winter, we - like most districts in the North Island - have seen a heavy demand for care.

The Demand Group we have to respond to this, led by Dr Fergus Aitcheson, is a joint working group of primary care and hospital clinicians. They have developed some actions around improving the effects of this change in the short and medium term.

The efforts of this group will benefit people needing care and the ability of staff to provide care out in the community and at the hospital.

In an immediate sense, our systems of shift-by-shift, day-to-day management of the need for care in the hospital are being tested. I am very grateful for the way staff have responded and I believe we are much more effective in knowing what has to be responded to, what has happened and what we need to do next. Certainly all of the reporting and analysis we now see makes the situation all the more easy to respond to.

So thanks again for your efforts and in particular the work to create improvements that will last beyond our current surge. Our 1,100 additional Tairāwhiti citizens are counting on us, as well as their fellow 46,400 family members and friends.