Most GP practices in NZ have “closed books”

Embargoed until: Publicly released:

Most general practices in NZ have been selectively enrolling new patients or stopping new enrolments altogether, according to a survey of more than 220 GP staff. In 2022, only 28% of respondents said they freely enrolled new people. Researchers say the situation has worsened since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, and that addressing closed books and limited enrolments in general practices could significantly improve Kiwis’ access to the healthcare they need.

Journal/conference: New Zealand Medical Journal

Organisation/s: Victoria University of Wellington

Funder: This work was funded by the Lottery Health Research Funding (Aotearoa New Zealand) (grant LHR-2022-186638). Additional funds from the Health Services Research Centre, VUW to pay for study participants’ token monetary compensation. The Lottery did not have any role in the design, collection, analysis, interpretation of data or writing and submission of manuscript.

Media release

From: Pasifika Medical Association Group

This research looks at how primary healthcare practices in Aotearoa New Zealand are handling new patient enrolments. It found that many practices were not accepting new patients, a situation known as “closed books”, and that this problem has become more common since the COVID-19 pandemic started. The study showed that this is a big issue because it stops people from getting the healthcare they need, and people not enrolled with a practice often had to wait longer for medical
appointments and could not access certain services, like COVID-19 care. This research is important because it shows that changes are needed in how general practices enrol new patients, to make sure everyone can get the care they need.


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