Federation Chair Hon. Steve Chadwick Federation Chair Hon. Steve Chadwick CREDIT: Supplied

Strong Primary Health Care Service Critical To An Effective COVID-19 Response

Monday 30 August 2021, 8:22AM
By RedPR

The latest COVID Delta outbreak and response shows now more than ever how important it is that community-based services work effectively together.

Steve Chadwick is the Chair of the Federation of Primary Health Aotearoa (FPHANZ), which is New Zealand’s peak body for [i]Primary Care, promoting health and wellbeing on behalf of its members for the benefit of the population of New Zealand.

Ms Chadwick says the Primary Health Sector workforces (which includes but is not limited to GPs, midwives, nurses, pharmacists, allied health) are the essential link in supporting their communities in the fight against COVID-19.

“Our primary health care workers are continuing to roll up their sleeves and get on with the business at hand, and sometimes as a result can be almost invisible,” she says. “Unless we are all really clear on how important these workers are, together with the effective integration of the Primary Health System as a whole, it’s quite possible New Zealanders health services will be overwhelmed if this kind of demand is placed on it again.”

Ms Chadwick says primary health care has always been key to the success of our New Zealand health system, and will be even more so, as part of the recently signalled health reforms. The Government has made clear that ²locality networks will be developed and strengthened. These networks will be made up of local primary health care providers with shared goals delivering core services, based on the needs and priorities of local communities.

“The way health teams have come together to respond to the needs of their local communities provides an ideal platform for the future and particularly for the locality arrangements being implemented as part of the health reforms,” she says. “The primary health care workforce is extremely stretched and more needs to be done to increase workforce capacity in the months ahead. This requires a strong, collaborative voice from all of those in primary health, including consumers, to achieve the very best for Kiwi’s across the motu.”  



 [1] Primary health care is anything that supports health and wellbeing to treat people if they are not well, preventing them from being unwell, and keeping them well at home or in their community.

² Locality networks: Care in the community will continue to be provided by a range of local primary health care providers, but those providers will form part of a locality network with shared goals. Each locality network will have a consistent range of core services, but how those services are delivered will be based on the needs and priorities of local communities.


Our Mission | Mīhana

To make comprehensive primary health care the foundation of the New Zealand health system. 

Who we are:

The Federation of Primary Health Aotearoa is New Zealand’s peak body for Primary Care.  We promote health and wellbeing, on behalf of members for the benefit of the population of New Zealand. In 2018, 70 of New Zealand’s primary health care leaders representing PHO’s, pharmacy, midwifery, allied health, nursing and others came together to form the Federation of Primary Health Aotearoa New Zealand.  The organisation was initially chaired by Dame Annette King.  The current chair is Hon Steve Chadwick. 

Post COVID and with the health system review well underway, the reach and membership of the Federation is now being expanded to all areas of primary health including: Aged care, Wellness, Community health, NGO’s, Mental health, Maori, Iwi, Disability, Professional organisations.​

The Federation is an all-encompassing peak body that requires members to set aside their separate sector interests – putting patient-centred care before all else. We aim to lead the discussion in primary care policy throughout New Zealand.  Our membership represents all providers of primary care.

The Federation was established to bring together organisations and stakeholders from across the primary health care sector for the benefit of the health and well-being of all New Zealanders. We believe fostering effective partnerships with communities and promoting integrated multi-agency and multi-professional health services is the way forward. The Federation is committed to providing an interactive forum that enables collaboration and partnership; endorses co-design with communities; facilitates the sharing of information, knowledge, and resources; promotes good practice and equitable health outcomes; and contributes to the development and implementation of health policy.


Following the adoption of the Constitution on 29 March 2021, some Board members have transitioned, and others have been co-opted.  They will hold their positions until the next Annual General Meeting which is to be held before November 2021.  An election process will take place.​

Current Board Members

Hon. Steve Chadwick (Independent Chair)

Karen Guilliland – College of Midwives

Andrew Gaudin – Pharmacy Guild

Dr Angus Chambers – General Practitioner, Christchurch PHO

Dr Jeff Lowe – General Practitioner and Chair General Practice New Zealand

Dr Sue Adams – College of Nurses Aotearoa

Teresa Wall – Director Wall Consultants

Sheldon Ngatai – Consumer Representative

Phillip Chapman  - Consumer Representative