A new PHO services agreement that came into force on 1 July 2013 has been described as one of the most significant changes in primary health care since the establishment of PHOs in 2002.

The agreement includes new provisions that will enable DHBs and PHOs to more easily work together in district and/or regional alliances, which is intended to encourage clinically-led service delivery and service integration. Other changes include the introduction of new minimum requirements that must be met by PHOs, and a clarification of requirements relating to the provision of after-hours services. Buddle Findlay was involved in the preparation of the new agreement, and will release a full health update about the new agreement shortly.