Longer GP appointments and building trust among patients with higher needs is at the heart of a whanau-centred approach that is breaking down barriers to access primary healthcare at the top of Te Waipounamu.  

Te Aka Whai Ora is partnering with Manu Ora, a Hauora Māori Primary Care Partner (GP) in Wairau to support the long-term wellbeing of the community by providing low, or no-cost healthcare that is both culturally appropriate and puts whānau at the centre.  

Manu Ora is a charitable Māori Health Organisation established in response to the needs of local communities. It is the only Kaupapa Māori provider at the top of Te Waipounamu, the South Island, that offers GP and nursing primary health care with a holistic focus on all aspects of hauora/wellbeing.  

Dr Sara Simmons (Ngāi Tahu), Manu Ora Board Member and GP at the practice says, “We are committed to offering a service that meets the needs of all our people, ensuring we reduce the inequities in both access to primary health care and the health outcomes for our highest need patients in Wairau, particularly our Māori community.” 

“Many of our patients have complex needs or have never been enrolled at all with a GP so it is vital that we can build and develop a trusting and responsive relationship. As part of this we aim to see our patients within 48 hours for routine appointments, and on the day for acute or urgent issues.  

“We have longer appointments, typically 90 minutes for their first meeting with our team to facilitate whakawhanangatanga, and develop a better understanding of a patient’s health and wellbeing needs. We have found this approach is helping to break down barriers where whānau have had poor experiences in the past in terms of access to primary healthcare services. 

“We’re encouraged by the fact we’re seeing much greater engagement with our patients with fewer cancellations and we’re seeing our patients on a regular basis. We’re also seeing reduced referrals to the hospital and unplanned care.” 

Te Aka Whai Ora Maiaka Hāpori Deputy Chief Executive Public and Population Health, Selah Hart says investing in solutions that address long term conditions is a key focus for Te Aka Whai Ora and we’re proud to be supporting Hauora partners like Manu Ora. 

“To effectively support the prevention, detection and self-management of long-term conditions in Māori, it is important that health practitioners have the time to address whanaungatanga, wairuatanga and rangatiratanga.” 

“It’s fantastic to see how Mana Ora is providing culturally appropriate, whānau-centred Hauora support that is making a real difference to the long-term wellbeing of their communities.”