Urgent Intervention Required: Immunisation in New Zealand
The December Journal of Primary Health Care (JPHC) provides new insights into reasons behind why New Zealand has failed to achieve national child immunisation targets. A study led by Auckland University’s Dr Nikki Turner found the current level of immunisation benefit subsidy is considerably lower than the cost of a standard vaccination.
The study investigated the average cost to a general practice of delivering childhood immunisation and developed a cost model for the typical practice.
Although there is wide variability across practices, the model found the current level of immunisation benefit subsidy is much lower than a standard vaccination’s cost to NZ general practices, the primary site for immunisation.
“The immunisation funding structure needs to be reviewed urgently,” Dr Turner, Director of the Immunisation Advisory Centre, University of Auckland, says. “The current funding approach is not adequate, particularly for the practice time and systems needed to put the extra effort required into tracking, and other opportunistic efforts to reach all children. Increasing childhood immunisations are a priority, and to succeed they need priority attention and resourcing at the practice level.”
Elsewhere, the December issue of the Journal of Primary Health Care has a men’s health focus. “Overall men have a poorer health status than women and use our health services less frequently. They die earlier than women and more of their deaths are avoidable,” JPHC Editor Felicity Goodyear-Smith writes. The popular Back to Back feature debates for and against PSA testing for prostrate cancer screening.
The Journal of Primary Health Care, the Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners’ quarterly scientific journal, is available now at http://www.rnzcgp.org.nz.