On Wednesday 8 August, Ko Awatea was delighted to welcome Associate Minister of Health Hon Peter Dunne, who made a special trip to Middlemore to congratulate Gray Maingay on his recent award for ‘Innovation in Hospital Pharmacy’. In fact the Minister’s Office phoned Gray personally to arrange the visit.
Gray is the Pharmacist for Very High Intensity Users (VHIU)- An integrated care programme aimed at keeping patients well and at home by bridging the gaps between health care providers and their patients.
The VHIU team sees people who have been in hospital for 5 or more times in a year and are in a unique position to see the realities and challenges these people are facing – such as inability to pay for health care in their community, lack of health literacy, health beliefs and cultural expectations.
For example one man diagnosed with a malignant tumour decided not to take his medications as he believed “cancer kills you and I am not dead”.
Another patient was not getting the correct dose of medication as he was using his medication blister pack vertically rather than horizontally.
As Gray says the patient isn’t to blame and we all have a responsibility to ensure that patients understand their treatment plans – not just their medicines and have the ability to engage properly with primary care.
The Minister commended the team on their work and was particularly interested in how the team managed to coordinate the integration between various community and hospital services.
“You have obviously found a model that works, and I will watch with a great deal of interest how you continue to achieve in the future,” says Hon Peter Dunne.