Good progress being made on PRIME service improvement plan

The National PRIME Committee met recently to discuss progress being made with the PRIME service improvement plan, borne out of recommendations from the 2017 PRIME review.

PRIME funding, administration, clinical governance, training and syllabus and equipment kits and medicines are included in the review.

The committee, chaired by Dr Tim Malloy, includes representatives from St John, ACC, Ministry of Health, National Ambulance Sector Office, New Zealand Rural General Practice Network, NZ College of Primary Care Nurses, ECCT, PRIME providers, PRIME practitioners, Rural Service Level Alliance teams, and Fire and Emergency New Zealand. It met on Thursday, July 26 in Auckland.

PRIME site configuration

Following the recent collection of data through the reconciliation reports provided by PRIME providers, further work has been undertaken by the St John business intelligence team to give preliminary analysis of the PRIME sites.  This work also takes into account the recently launched reprioritisation of PRIME calls.

The importance of recognising PRIME as an integral part of the bigger picture of rural health service delivery was acknowledged. Further work will be undertaken to consult with practices, PHOs, DHBs, Rural SLATs and others involved in the wider provision of rural health services, as the configuration of PRIME sites is considered.  It is also important to better understand how emergency teams in hospitals, the Air Ambulance Service and Fire and Emergency NZ fit into the PRIME picture.

PRIME training

St John reported on proposed changes to the PRIME training course which have been developed following feedback received during the 2017 review.

The changes include greater emphasis on simulation workshops and problem-based learning; a blended approach to course delivery with on-line and electronic educational packages available and a reduction of the face-to-face delivery for the refresher course to one day, supplemented by on-line learning.

The committee agreed to the changes feeling that they would enhance PRIME training and increase access and flexibility for providers. More detail will be provided by St John via their publications and web-site.

PRIME kit and equipment

St John also reported on significant progress in renewing PRIME kits and equipment. Lisa Meadows, Clinical Programme co-ordinator – PRIME, recently visited sites to deliver the new packs. This also provided her with an opportunity to meet the teams at the PRIME provider practices. While not all sites have received the new packs yet, the plan is to get them delivered as soon as possible. Feedback so far has been very positive.

Direct feedback from PRIME practitioners

The committee considered two letters recently received from PRIME practitioners. One letter queried the skill level of the PRIME training course and the comparability to international standards, and the second asked the committee to consider developing an advanced level PRIME training course.

Both of these enquiries were discussed and considered by the committee and further work will be required to explore the suggestions in line with the work described above.

Regional PRIME committees

St John provided feedback from the Regional PRIME committee meetings. The National PRIME Committee encourages PRIME practitioners and providers to continue to send through feedback to the local regional committees and particularly encourages you to become involved in your local committee. It is considered essential that the outcomes of the review and implementation of any changes include those involved in the work.

PRIME funding

Outside of the scope of work of the National PRIME Committee, the New Zealand Rural General Practice Network are continuing their work on development of a business case for increased funding for the PRIME service. It is acknowledged that some of the work around reviewing the number of PRIME sites and the impact of the reprioritisation of calls will likely impact the distribution of funding.

National forum for PRIME

At the New Zealand Rural General Practice Network’s National Rural Health Conference in April 2019, it is planned to hold a workshop or forum to enable PRIME providers, practitioners, St John ambulance staff and communications team members to get together to learn and share their experiences. The conference will be held at the Marlborough Convention Centre, Blenheim from April 4-7, 2019.