Working for Canterbury for 30 years – A history of Pegasus Health

Kia atawhai ki te tangata / Care for the people

Pegasus Health (Charitable) is the largest Primary Health Organisation (PHO) in the South Island. Funded by the Ministry of Health and the  Canterbury District Health Board, the role of Pegasus Health is to make
Canterbury the best place to receive and provide primary care.

Pegasus Health was founded in 1992 by a group of Christchurch general practitioners who wanted to leverage the health sector restructure to get the best possible outcomes for their local community. These early Pegasus pioneers brought together the majority of Christchurch GPs to form an independent collective with a strong clinical education foundation and a focus on more efficient use of available resources.

The savings achieved went to building a range of programmes and services for patients, such as the first free GP visits for under 5s, free mammography screening for at risk women (before the national programme began), and the PEGS smoking cessation programme.

Pegasus innovations continue to lead health service design and delivery across the country, with the Pegasus small group Clinical Quality Education programme setting the standard for clinical education content and delivery in Aotearoa.

Pegasus-owned 24 Hour Surgery is one of New Zealand’s most enduring round-the-clock general practices. Established in 1987, 24 Hour Surgery was purchased by Pegasus Health in 2005 from a collective of Christchurch GPs. At this time, an increasing number of after-hours services across Aotearoa were struggling. Pegasus felt strongly about ensuring the Christchurch community could access GP care at all hours and so secured the future of 24 Hour Surgery.

Another round-the-clock health service delivered by Pegasus is Whakarongorau Aotearoa // New Zealand Telehealth Services. This is a social enterprise owned by Pegasus and ProCare. It offers the people of New Zealand free, national telehealth services, 24 hours a day, seven days a  week, over multiple digital channels. Those services include Healthline, the COVID Healthlines, 1737 – Need to talk?, Gambling Helpline and Quitline.

Today, Pegasus Health continues to have the people of Canterbury at the heart of all they do. They support general practices and community-based health providers within Canterbury to deliver quality health care, to more than 450,000 enrolled patients. Cantabrians have been through a lot in the last decade and Pegasus Health have responded by growing community-based mental health services. Te Tumu Waiora, Brief Intervention Talk Therapy, and the Pegasus Child Health Support Service all support whānau who are struggling day-to-day.

Pegasus Health overtly, purposefully and strategically threads equity and Te Tiriti o Waitangi through all they do and how they operate. Equity is prioritised in all considerations, structures, decisions and processes so that the health outcomes of all of our people and communities in Canterbury are improved.

View the April newsletter.