Different people form part of your primary health care team. They all have different roles in supporting you. Having arthritis can be a stressful experience; it can change the way you do things every day, and it can take time to get your head around who and what needs to be in place to support you. Identifying who is in your primary care health team is an important part of the journey to living well with arthritis.
Your GP or Doctor is usually your lead healthcare provider and your first point of contact. Your GP diagnoses most conditions but will refer you to a secondary care specialist to confirm a diagnosis in some conditions such as Rheumatoid Arthritis. Your GP writes prescriptions and makes referrals to other health specialists and government-funded services like Needs Assessment Service Co-ordination (NASC), mobility parking permits, and green prescriptions). They are the ‘gatekeeper’ to secondary healthcare.
A registered nurse who works with GPs. They need specialist training to be able to provide preventative care and treatment services to their communities, for services including vaccinations and cervical screening. The Practice Nurse liaises with other health professionals and are a great source of information and advice.
A Nurse Practitioner can be your lead healthcare provider and is able to make a diagnosis, order and interpret diagnostic and laboratory tests, and prescribe medicines within their area of competence with the same authority as GPs. The Nurse Practitioner is the most senior clinical nurse in the health care system.
Your community pharmacist will get to know you and your whānau and can give advice on health issues, and treatments for some minor health issues. They can show you how to use your medical devices correctly such as asthma inhalers, air humidifiers etc.
Services your Community Pharmacy may offer:
– Medicine packaging such as blister packs (especially if you have a long-term condition or complex requirements)
Pharmacist Prescribers work in a team with other healthcare professionals and are not the primary diagnostician. Additional qualifications mean they can write prescriptions (including stopping or continuing therapy originally initiated by another prescriber). They can order tests and investigations and monitor your condition.