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General practice provides comprehensive community health care to patients enrolled with them

General practice provides comprehensive community-based, and continuing patient-centred health care to patients enrolled with them. This is called primary care.

General practice services include the diagnosis, management and treatment of health conditions, continuity of health care throughout the lifespan, health promotion, prevention, screening, and referral to hospital and specialists. Most general practice providers work with a PHO.

The fund-holding role of PHOs allows an extended range of services to be provided across all the providers within a PHO.

Talk to the practice staff, call 0800 855 151, or visit and work through the Guide to Eligibility Criteria to see if you’re eligible to enrol with a PHO.

Benefits Of Enrolling

Enrolling is free and voluntary. If you choose not to enrol you can still receive health services from a chosen GP / general practice / provider of primary health care services. Advantages of enrolling are that your visits to the doctor will be cheaper and you will have direct access to a range of services linked to the PHO.

What Happens If I Go to Another Practice?

You can go to another general practice or change to a new general practice at any time. If you are enrolled in a PHO through one general practice and visit another practice as a casual patient you will probably pay a higher fee for that visit. So if you have more than one general practice you should consider enrolling with the practice you visit most often.

What Happens If I am Enrolled in A General Practice but Don’t see them very often?

If you have not received services from your general practice in a 3 year period it is likely that the practice will contact you and ask if you wish to remain with the practice. If you are not able to be contacted or do not respond your name will be taken off the Practice and PHO Enrolment Registers. You can re-enrol with the same general practice or another general practice and the affiliated PHO at a later time.

I understand the following:

Access to My Health Information

I have the right to access (and have corrected) my health information under Rules 6 and 7 of the Health Information Privacy Code 1994.

Visiting Another GP

If I visit another GP who is not my regular doctor I will be asked for permission to share information from the visit with my regular doctor or practice.

If I am under six years old or have a High User Health Card, or a Community Services Card, and I visit another GP who is not my regular doctor, he/she can make a claim for a subsidy, and the practice I am enrolled in will be informed of the date of that visit. The name of the practice I visited and the reason(s) for the visit will not be disclosed unless I give my consent.

Patient Enrollment Information

The information I have provided on the Practice Enrollment Form will be:

  • held by the practice
  • used by the Ministry of Health to give me a National Health Index (NHI) number, or update any changes
  • sent to the PHO and Ministry of Health to obtain subsidised funding on my behalf
  • used to determine eligibility to receive publicly-funded services.

Information may be compared with other government agencies but only when permitted under the Privacy Act.

Health Information

Members of my health team may:

  • add to my health record during any services provided to me and use that information to provide appropriate care
  • share relevant health information to other health professionals who are directly involved in my care

In the case of financial audits, my health information may be reviewed by an auditor for checking a financial claim made by the practice, but only according to the terms and conditions of section 22G of the Health Act (or any subsequent applicable Act). I may be contacted by the auditor to check that services have been received. If the audit involves checking on health matters, an appropriately qualified health care practitioner will view the health records.

Health Programmes

Health data relevant to a programme in which I am enrolled (e.g. Breast Screening, Immunisation, Diabetes) may be sent to the PHO or the external health agency managing this programme.

Other Uses of Health Information

Health information which will not include my name but may include my National Health Index Identifier (NHI) may be used by health agencies such as the District Health Board, Ministry of Health or PHO for the following purposes, as long as it is not used or published in a way that can identify me:

  • health service planning and reporting
  • monitoring service quality, and

My health information may be used for health research, but only if this has been approved by an Ethics Committee and will not be used or published in a way that can identify me.

Except as listed above, I understand that details about my health status or the services I have received will remain confidential within the medical practice unless I give specific instruction.