Mahitahi Hauora Primary Health Entity launched at Waitangi

Tuesday 9 July 2019

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On Friday 1 July, Northland primary health underwent a significant transformational change agenda on the Treaty of Waitangi grounds, symbolising a renewed commitment to partnership between General Practice, Māori Health Providers, Iwi and Northland District Health Board.

A ground-breaking collaborative endeavour, Mahitahi Hauora is the new primary care entity replacing Te Tai Tokerau and Manaia Health Primary Health Organisations.

The establishment of Mahitahi Hauora marks a significant mind-set change, to deliver on commitments made in the Tiriti o Waitangi, including improving Māori health outcomes.  

“To achieve a broader population health strategy for all in Northland, and to close the equity gap for Māori it is important to recognise that change is required on not just one but multiple levels within the health and social system if we are to impact social determinants of health,” said Phillip Balmer, chief executive, Mahitahi Hauora.

“The significant change also includes a broader focus on addressing the wider determinants of wellbeing, including social, economic, and environmental factors. We will be working with local communities and develop clinical networks to ensure we are providing more comprehensive services to meet those community’s needs.” 

The purpose of Mahitahi Hauora is to support a primary healthcare system that sustains equitable, self-determined wellbeing and ensures every person has an opportunity to live a long healthy life.

“Given our deeper understanding about the determinants of health within the Northland context, we will take a broader and more joined-up approach with other sectors and agencies so that we can leverage opportunities or learn from other initiatives that are improving the health and wellbeing of Northlanders.”

Mahitahi Hauora is the single primary care entity responsible for allocating resources to priorities that whānau, communities and providers identify via locality driven planning.

“Given the challenges of rurality, geography, and population differences place or locality-based solutions will be tailored to the local context with the relevant partners at the table such as employment, education, housing, health and social services,” Mr. Balmer said.

Workforce growth and retention is another focus given the wide range of factors that make it hard to attract and retain clinical staff and more particularly medical staff to the region. We need to better support our General Practitioners, Nursing, and Allied Health workforces.

For example, we are looking at how we can increase the number of general practice training places for rural trainees, and whether we can use some of the DHB platforms to help with recruitment.

Also, in scope is a review of the skill mix across primary care teams to better connect patients directly with an appropriate professional, which will reduce the burden on other professionals.

“By deconstructing a GP’s time, it is recognised that a significant proportion of their work could be allocated to others in the primary care team, which could include nurse practitioners, allied health and pharmacists.”

Health Minister Dr David Clark attended the launch at Te Rūnanga Marae – Waitangi Treaty Grounds to officially launch Mahitahi Hauora alongside the Mahitahi Hauora Chair, Eru Lyndon.

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