19 Jul 2012

Strategy will help reduce health inequalities - Maori Party

7:15 pm on 19 July 2012

The Maori Party says the College of General Practitioners' first Maori strategy, launched on Thursday, is another step towards dealing with the health inequalities faced by tangata whenua.

In launching the strategy, the party's co-leader Tariana Turia, who's also the Associate Health Minister, said the document will help ensure there are GPs with the skills and resources to communicate and build relationships with Maori, and to ultimately help improve their health.

The college says the strategy contains what it calls 16 "action areas" within the categories of: representation and equity; Maori cultural competence; quality; workforce development; the general practice education programme; and engagement.

Mrs Turia says Maori clinicians are needed to provide appropriate and effective health care for Maori.

She noted only 3% of the college's membership is Maori, despite Maori making up 15% of the population.

She also said she was surprised it was the college's first Maori strategy.

The college says it has had strategic statements and principles relating to Maori in its rules and programmes for some time.