24 September 2020
ProCare, New Zealand’s largest Primary Health Organisation (PHO) this month celebrates 25 years of providing quality public health care to the people of Auckland.
Since 1995 ProCare has pioneered local and national primary health services, while growing to become New Zealand’s largest and most diverse healthcare co-operative, caring for more than 800,000 people from Whangaparoa to Bombay.
Chief Executive Officer Steve Boomert said: “I’m incredibly proud that ProCare is marking this milestone, and of the work we do every day to support our network of general practices. Over the past 25 years we have developed dozens of clinical initiatives to ensure our member practices can provide the best possible care for their patients, including Aotearoa’s largest Māori, Pacific and South Asian populations.”
Those initiatives include projects such as the Off the Couch programme to help tackle obesity in South Auckland; piloting a scheme in conjunction with ACC to enable GPs to refer patients directly for MRIs; pioneering new models of primary mental health care and together with Christchurch PHO, Pegasus Health, setting up Homecare Medical, which operates the national telehealth service.
ProCare Clinical Director, Dr Allan Moffitt, says ProCare has always been focused on improvement, innovation and partnership: “We see our role as constantly looking at what we can do to improve the quality of general practice and ultimately the health and wellbeing of the communities we serve. That means working hand in hand with colleagues across primary care, DHBs, NGOs and Māori and Pacific health providers to ensure people get the best possible care when they need it and to do more to stop them getting sick in the first place.”
ProCare was formed as an Independent Practitioners Association in 1995 with 350 general practitioner members, before evolving into a Primary Health Organisation as part of the 2002 health reforms. Today, ProCare’s network of 170 practices includes more than 700 GPs, 600 nurses and hundreds of support staff.
Founder and retired GP Dr Tom Marshall said: “Our aim in setting up ProCare was that the benefits of being an independent organisation would flow through to our patients. We wanted to protect the relationship practices have with their patients and communities, while supporting them to be part of the public health system.
“It’s an organisation that’s led by clinicians and the focus has always been on achieving the highest clinical standards. That’s involved over a hundred thousand hours of education meetings to allow GPs, nurses and practice staff to learn from experts and each other, and through those collective efforts we have seen improved health outcomes for our patients.”
Te Puea Winiata, Practice Manager at Mangere’s Turuki Health Centre said: “When we decided to join the ProCare network it wasn’t necessarily that we were looking for specific support as a kaupapa Māori health service - we already know our population and community well. But what we wanted was support with improving service quality as well as help to take another direction and ProCare has provided this, enabling us to move forward, expand and to provide innovative healthcare to whānau.”
Steve Boomert says ProCare has weathered many challenges and changes, not least in responding to the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, but it continues to thrive.
“Most of all, as we celebrate this 25 year anniversary, I want acknowledge the amazing clinicians in our network for their unwavering dedication, even in the toughest of times. I have been inspired by their compassion and commitment to supporting the wellbeing needs of their patients.
“Over recent months it has been inspiring to watch the people in our network overcome challenges, celebrate successes and come out stronger and more united than ever before to care for our communities. Whatever the future brings it is that unity and connectedness that sets us in good stead to provide primary care leadership for the next 25 years and beyond.”
For more information please contact:
Senior Communications Advisor, ProCare and Fresh Minds
Ruth.firstname.lastname@example.org or 021 263 1415