Primary Care in New Zealand pays general practitioners (GPs) to enrol patients to their clinics, instead of the fee service practiced in most countries, like Malaysia. The system was implemented in 2004, with the objective of moving the GP system into family medicine, and preventive care.
The move was initially met with a lot of resistance, said Mr. Chai Chuah, the Director General of Health & CEO of Ministry of Health New Zealand, but is now a popular initiative with 70% of a GP’s income coming directly from the government. The incentive of the program is responsible for its popularity, as each individual is ‘assigned’ a GP of their choosing, and the GP is paid monthly per person, regardless of whether the individual actually used the service. In essence, the system works like an insurance premium, paid by the government for primary care.
“Naturally, there was a lot of resistance to such a change.”
Chuah also noted that the population was broken down by segments, where certain areas were classified as more ‘needy’, hence resulting in a higher pay-off for each enrolled individual under a physician.
The system is not without its faults, but Chuah notes the success of the system, and having spend his youth in Malaysia, wonders how and when a similar system could be implemented in Malaysia. Chuah said this during the April 13th New Zealand Malaysia Health Technology Seminar 2015 held at KL Hilton, with a panel on comparing the two countries health systems and the way forward. The event was attended by InfoMed Malaysia.