EBPHA Annual Report – 2018
For the Eastern Bay Primary Health Alliance (EBPHA), the past year was for the most part business as usual. That meant that, as her report makes clear, our Chief Executive, Michelle Murray, and her first-class team, “Maintained over the whole period their usual high standards of commitment and performance in delivering primary health care to patients in the Eastern Bay.”
But in other respects, the year was by no means without incident. The performance of our usual tasks was achieved against a backdrop of considerable disruption. This began with the decision by Green Cross, the private firm that owns a number of general practices across the country, to move their practices in the Eastern Bay from EBPHA and to sign up instead with the Western Bay PHO (WBoP). The reason they gave for doing so was that they believed that the WBoP would allow them more discretion as to what they did with their funding and they presumably saw in this a possibility that would benefit their shareholders.
Whatever their motivation, their decision caused a temporary rupture in the EBPHA’s relationship with the WBoP. That rupture was quickly remedied, but it was no doubt one of the factors that prompted the District Health Board (DHB) to issue a formal Request for Information, which required the three PHOs in the Bay as a whole to produce a combined response that would describe how they would work together to deliver more effective health care to patients and would address the central issue of the disparity between Māori and non-Māori health outcomes.
The preparation of that combined response was a major undertaking that occupied a great deal of the attention and energy of the respective Boards and staffs of the PHOs involved. The outcome, which is currently being evaluated by the DHB, was a constructive and well thought-out proposal for improvements in the way that the three PHOs work together; we believe that it offers the real prospect of better delivery of primary health care and of a successful attack on inequality (not to say inequity) in health outcomes.
Throughout the year, I was very grateful for the excellent work of Michelle Murray and her team, and for the continued support and cohesion of my Board. We lost some members during the course of the year and I pay particular tribute to the long and faithful service of Don Riesterer and Timi Peri. We also welcomed some new members, including Fiona Wiremu and Dr Paul Anderson and a returning member in Shaneen Almond-Simpson.
As the year concluded, I was obliged, on health grounds, to tender my resignation from the Board. I regard the eight years I spent as Chair as among the most worthwhile things I have done, and I wish all my colleagues the best of success for the future in the important and valuable work they do.