Wednesday, 20 October 2021

Government reforms: same hospitals, same care, different name

“Health Minister Andrew Little has had today held a briefing about the Government’s health reforms that has left more questions than answers,” says ACT Deputy Leader and Health spokesperson Brooke van Velden.

“Little says progress is underway to set the framework for the Health Reforms to reduce the 20 District Health Boards to a single organisation, Health NZ, but also set up a separate organisation - the Māori Health Authority.

“We must learn the lessons from the COVID response. General Practitioners (GPs) and primary providers were left behind in the vaccine roll out, and only recently brought on board for COVID community care plans, 18-months after our first lockdown.

“Why does the interim Health NZ board have no community or primary care involvement? They are essential to New Zealand healthcare.

“We heard that Health NZ will take on all employees and assets of current DHBs.

“What will be different for a patient accessing the care they need? Same hospitals, same care, different name.

“The Minister couldn't answer how many new localities would be set up under Health NZ, pointing to drawing on the health services available to different areas.

“Could it be that we spend hundreds of millions of dollars and see 20 DHBs re-established under a different name "localities.”

“We know our hospitals are run down and people are languishing on waiting lists. ACT has a plan to address the issues in health care, it's much simpler.”

ACT would:

• Reduce the number of DHBs from 20 to 6 (four in the North Island and two in the South Island)
• Publicly subsidise more of the common elective surgeries in private hospitals through competitive tender. This will utilise spare private hospital operating capacity, reduce public waitlists, and free up public hospital operating theatres for urgent and major surgeries
• ACT would establish Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) with large, global infrastructure developers and investors for new build and long-term facility lease arrangements. PPPs would be used for the refurbishment and upgrades to existing facilities, and would be converted to long-term lease backs
• Establish Mental Health and Addiction New Zealand (MHANZ), a standalone agency on a national scale, empowering patients to choose between a range of providers, rather than simply accepting what their DHB offers