PHARMAC’s focus on strong relationships will be enhanced by the findings of our 2015 stakeholder survey, writes PHARMAC Board chairman Stuart McLauchlan
The success and sustainability of PHARMAC is built on the strength of its relationships. It goes without saying that PHARMAC wouldn’t be able to work effectively without people knowing who we are and what we do, and without PHARMAC having an understanding of the people and issues across the health environment.
There’s been a significant shift in the focus of PHARMAC’s work over the past year. While our work to date has built on our legacy in primary care, the past year has seen our impact in hospitals grow rapidly. This has required a concerted effort to build relationships, get to know people and understand their views as our work has grown. If PHARMAC is to convert potential benefits into actual benefits to the sector from our hospitals work, then a deep and wide knowledge of the hospital sector, and strong relationships, will need to underpin that work.
Our work in hospitals is built on strong foundations forged in both the primary and secondary sectors. Our relationships in the primary sector have been built over many years, and these continue to be important. Indeed, PHARMAC has moved to strengthen these relationships in the past year with the appointment of a deputy medical director with a specific interest in primary care.
Work in hospital medicines and medical devices has seen a concerted effort to meet and hear the views of people working in hospitals, who could have an interest in PHARMAC’s work. Within DHB hospitals, this goes from the executives making strategic decisions about the direction of their organisation, through to the purchasing and testing staff who deal with new technology, hospital pharmacists and the end-user clinicians and nursing staff. At all levels we have been working to understand views, listen to concerns and then think about how we can progress our work while being sympathetic to these views.
Our Te Whaioranga Māori responsiveness strategy is also taking a new direction, and this will be based in the long term on the strong relationships being built in the community. Rather than developing and running programmes on our own, we’ve decided the best way forward is to work with health and community groups, providing resources to support programmes that they will decide on.
This approach requires a close relationship and clear understanding of the needs of each community. As a result PHARMAC has been working closely with Ngā Kaitiaki o te Puna Rongoā (Māori Pharmacists Association) and Whānau Ora collectives in the Bay of Plenty and Waikato. The programmes that result are important but they are only possible through our strong relationships. There’s more about this new approach on pages XX-XX.
It’s important for us to keep in touch with people’s views to understand how our work might be affecting them, and to ask how we are doing. So in the past year PHARMAC ran a survey of our stakeholders to check in on how people perceived PHARMAC’s performance, and how this could be further improved.
This was the first time since 2007 that PHARMAC had undertaken such an exercise. More than 800 people and organisations responded, which has provided a rich source of feedback on views around our work.
So what sort of things did people have to say?
- Stakeholders perceive major improvements since 2007, including PHARMAC’s approachability, transparency and relationships with suppliers, while a strong start has been made regarding devices
- There is a desire for PHARMAC to balance its management of a fixed budget with a wider view of total sector costs and health outcomes – currently many stakeholders believe PHARMAC is more interested in medicine cost than quality
- Perceived performance varies across stakeholder groups: central government, PHOs and DHBs have the most positive opinions, whereas suppliers, pharmacy and patient advocacy groups have the lowest opinions of PHARMAC
- High levels of perceived performance regarding expert knowledge, handling of confidential information, objectivity and delivering to stated objectives; balanced against lower performance in timeliness of decision-making, taking opinions into account and understanding sector issues
- Strong communication performance though with opportunities to improve further, including genuine listening in meetings, easier ways to sign up to multiple information streams, and developing future channels such as webinars, apps and mobile friendly website content
So, in short, people’s views of PHARMAC have improved since 2007; we’re seen to be doing better in some areas; but some frustrations and issues remain which is inevitable given the range of impacts PHARMAC’s activities have on New Zealand. We need to better understand all our stakeholders’ concerns.
We’re really pleased with the feedback we received, which has given us a firm platform from which to further explore how best to work together.
The work that we do in future will be influenced by what we’ve heard through this survey and our other ongoing interactions with the community, and will help shape PHARMAC’s interaction with the community over the coming years.
The stakeholder survey
- The 2015 Stakeholder Survey ran between February and March 2015
- The survey was run in two parts: an online quantitative survey followed by in-depth qualitative interviews
- 800 stakeholders completed the online survey. 22 in-depth interviews were conducted
- A wide range of stakeholders participated in the survey, including primary care health professionals, Māori stakeholders, suppliers, patient advocacy groups and central government
- The last stakeholder survey, which was qualitative only, was run in 2007
Last updated: 11 December 2015