Primary Health Organisation (PHO) level population data
shows the number of people enrolled at a general practice has fallen less than
two percent – or 8312 people since February 2011.
General Practice enrolments in Canterbury, following the
February 22 earthquake, are consistent with a study the Canterbury District
Health Board commissioned in April 2011 into predicted population movement post
a major disaster.
General Practice enrolments are an accurate monitor of
population because people need to enrol with their General Practice under one of
the three PHOs in Canterbury – Christchurch PHO, Rural Canterbury PHO and
Partnership Health, to be entitled to subsidised health care at General
Canterbury District Health Board chief executive David Meates
says the latest PHO figures are in alignment with Dr Tom Love’s predictions in
his April 2011 report.
Dr Tom Love, from Australasian consulting firm Sapere
Research Group, wrote the report to assess the quake's possible impact on
His analysis was based on population data following other major natural
disasters, such as the Kobe earthquake in Japan, Hurricane Andrew in Florida and
Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans.
The study found population levels were likely to change no more than two
percent in the year after a disaster and were likely to increase as workers
arrived for the rebuilding effort.
“The likely magnitude and duration of population movement
after a disaster is important information for future health planning, informing
decisions about future demand and the recovery of services and facilities, which
is why we commissioned Dr Love and have been monitoring PHO enrolment movement
closely,” David Meates says.
“We will continue to monitor the ongoing movement of
population after the Christchurch earthquake through as many different methods
as possible; however, it’s heartening to see this data shows minimal population
movement, as predicted.”
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