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N Z Med J. 2003 May 2;116(1173):U420.

Is the PRIME (Primary Response In Medical Emergencies) scheme acceptable to rural general practitioners in New Zealand?

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Christchurch School of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Otago.



To ascertain the level of acceptance of the PRIME (Primary Response In Medical Emergencies) scheme by rural general practitioners (GPs) in New Zealand.


A nationwide, anonymous, postal/email questionnaire was sent to 536 rural/semi-rural GPs, inquiring as to their involvement in and opinions of emergency care, and the acceptability of the PRIME scheme.


The overall response rate was 42%. PRIME training courses and PRIME equipment were regarded as excellent. However, concerns were raised by both PRIME and non-PRIME groups regarding the quality of triaging information given during emergencies and levels of remuneration for call-outs (especially medical call-outs). Additional concerns included lack of flexibility with the PRIME contract in some areas. Some GPs were also concerned that their involvement was less about providing a higher skill level in resuscitation than about filling the gaps in the already-stretched rural ambulance services, which was not the intention of the PRIME scheme.


The inclusion of rural GPs in emergency care teams needs to be recognised and adequately remunerated, and these issues should be reflected in the ongoing development of pre-hospital emergency service contracts.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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