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Student: Tracy Haitana
Supervisors: Ms. Suzanne Pitama, Ms. Kay Poulsen
Sponsor: The Health Care of the Elderly Education Trust

In the past the New Zealand Publicly-Funded Secondary Sector relied on waiting lists to manage the supply and demand of elective services for patients requiring non-urgent procedures. In May 2003, the Canterbury District Health Board implemented the new Ministry of Health booking system in an attempt to improve the provision of these elective services so that patients with the greatest health needs were provided with treatment sooner. This meant that 1956 patients awaiting low priority procedures were returned to the care of their general practitioner. This study aimed to generate a profile of all GP Managed Care patients using information from the CDHB database, as well as to review the experiences of 120 of these patients using telephone and postal surveys. Survey participants were randomly selected to ensure that research results were representative of all patients that were referred to GP Managed Care. Preliminary analyses were carried out firstly using the GP Managed Care database, and later using data from completed patient surveys. It was found that patients were largely dissatisfied with the GP Managed Care system, confused about the changes, and unsure as to how they should manage their future health. A number of recommendations were made to ensure that patients received accurate information and that all future communications received by patients from the CDHB would be unambiguous and-easy-to-understand.

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