Primary Care


Not-for-profit Primary Health Organisations (PHOs) were established as a result of the Primary Health Care Strategy in launched February 2001. The strategy defined a PHO as a “…new way of arranging health care in the community to make sure people get the first level health care they need. It is a group of health providers whose job it is to look after all the people enrolled with them”. A PHO is a team of doctors, nurses and other health professionals (such as Maori health workers and health promotion workers) who are working with their community to provide a better health services.

PHOs are funded under a capitation based funding formula (CBF) and receive a set amount of funding from the government to subsidise a range of health services. The funding is based on the numbers and characteristics (e.g., age, sex, and ethnicity) of people enrolled with them. PHOs also receive additional funding for a range of new functions such as health promotion and extra services to improve access for high-need groups.

General Practice services play a major role in the delivery of primary health services. PHOs contract with general practices to provide the funding to subsidise the delivery of “First Level Services”. These First Level Services are the essential building block to Primary Health Care and there purpose is to improve, maintain and restore health and ensure access to care. Under capitation based funding PHOs and their general practices are paid according to the number and characteristics of people enrolled not the number of times patients are seen.

Although, General Practice services play a major role in the delivery of primary health services, and in most cases they are the first point of contact for people to access the health system, the PHO also has a range of other contracted providers who provide a mix of services for the enrolled population. This includes Services to Improve Access (SIA) and Health Promotion Services.

The Royal College of General Practitioners

A) Cornerstone Programme

HDANZ has been appointed by the Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners (RNZCGP) to provide general practice accreditation services as part of the College’s “CORNERSTONE” programme. Once accredited, practices move into an annual maintenance programme. The annual programme is based on a 4 year cycle. The annual programme assists the practice to embed continuous quality improvement into everyday process and ‘business as usual’.

HDANZ’s primary role is to endorse the CORNERSTONE General Practice Accreditation through the review of each report and recommendation for final accreditation. This ensures oversight to the Cornerstone programme through an independent verification process. We also support assessor training and contribute to the development of the programme.

B) Foundation Standard

The College has developed The Foundation Standard for General Practice. The Foundation Standard represents what is considered to be the minimum legal, professional, and regulatory requirements for general practice. The College is responsible for oversight, moderation and training of assessors.  PHOs are responsible to implement the assessment process.  The requirement is that as of 1 July 2016 all practices will either have achieved Foundation or be Cornerstone accredited.

HDANZ’s role has been to provide assessor training workshops in conjunction with the College that have been attended by PHO nominated assessors.

For further information on Cornerstone or the Foundation Standard click on the following link: