Appendix 1: Changes to primary health care structures since 2001

Ministry of Health: Monitoring the progress of the Primary Health Care Strategy.

PHOs usually consist of a group of general practices (the general practices are described as members of the PHO). In other cases, one or more non-government organisations may have formed a PHO. Figure 6 shows the reported numbers of PHOs and enrolled patients from 2002/03 to 2007/08.

Figure 6
Numbers of PHOs and enrolled patients, from 2002/03 to 2007/08

Most PHOs were set up by the end of the third year of the Strategy's implementation, and within two years of the requirements for PHOs being established. Since 1 July 2005, the number of PHOs has been stable at about 80. The number of enrolled patients has continued to increase slightly since 2004/05.

Year of implementation Financial year Reported number of PHOs Reported number of patients enrolled, as at the end of June (million)
0 2000/01 Strategy launched
1 2001/02 Requirements for PHOs established
2 2002/03 47 at 30 June 2003 1.080
3 2003/04 68 at 30 June 2004 3.167
4 2004/05 No figures reported 3.828
5 2005/06 79 at 1 July 2005
81 at 1 April 2006
6 2006/07 81 at 30 June 2007 3.948
7 2007/08 82 at 13 September 2007
81 at 20 December 2007
80 at 27 May 2008

Source: Ministry of Health.

It is voluntary for general practices and others to form PHOs. The minimum requirements for forming PHOs were established in the first year of the Strategy's implementation. PHOs are funded by new subsidies and initiatives, which we discuss further below. About 85% of the PHOs in place at 30 June 2008 were formed within three years of the Strategy's launch (see Figure 6). The number of PHOs within each DHB district ranges from one to seven. A PHO can contract with only one DHB, but a PHO's patients may come from one or more DHB districts.

Patients cannot enrol directly with a PHO – they must first be accepted onto a GP's patient register. Once registered, patients are asked if they want to enrol with the GP's PHO. The rate of patients' enrolment was similar to the PHO establishment rate (see Figure 6). About 78% of the number of people enrolled with PHOs at 30 June 2008 enrolled within three years of the Strategy's launch.

page top