Health alliance aims to improve services

20:54, Jan 21 2014

A new alliance between southern health organisations hopes to deliver a plan that will improve the region's public health services.

The Southern Health Alliance Leadership Team was formed after the merger between the Southern District Health Board and the Southern Primary Health Organisation in July last year.

Alliance leadership team chairman Robin Gauld said the alliance spent the first six months building trust within the team and identifying key patient care needs.

"This is a fairly fundamental shift and in the right direction, there is a lot of thought behind it," he said.

By examining the "patient journey" as it moves through both sectors the alliance will critically analyse how to improve and support services to ensure they meet public needs.

Prof Gauld said that in the past 10 to 12 years the Southern Primary Health Organisation had supported primary care, while the DHB infrastructure was more closely aligned with hospital care.


"The alliance is an opportunity for everyone to share resources and funding . . . It's where the benefits come through; you will have specialists and GPs working together to really integrate patient care."

Southern District Health Board chief medical officer David Tulloch said an emphasis was needed for united healthcare across the entire health services continuum.

"SHALT's work groups will take a ‘whole of system' approach . . . with [the aim of creating] seamless transitions between healthcare providers," he said.

The organisation will create work groups known as Southern Leadership Alliance Teams, which will take on particular projects.

"They will be clinically led service teams with an appointed sponsor from both the DHB and PHO, who will examine what's in scope of the project and what's not, then induct the relevant people," Prof Gauld said.


The Southland Times