Media Release - 21/10/11
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 Practice.
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 Christchurch's population.
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.”