“There is a serious question of whether New Zealand is still a first world country as increasingly tragic scenes play out in hospitals. It’s time to turn around the decline,” says ACT Leader David Seymour

“New Zealand’s healthcare system is training less, paying less and harder to access than first world comparators. Is it any wonder our health system is in crisis?

“The news is awash with stories of New Zealanders being turned away from healthcare. This collapse in standards is part of a gradual decline in New Zealand’s prosperity. In recent years New Zealand has been training 40 per cent fewer medical professionals per capita than Australia.

“The worsening system is a result of falling wages generally. Healthcare is predominantly paid for by taxes, which come from wages. Lower wages mean less healthcare. Under Labour the median wage gap has gone from Australians earning $17,400 more to $24,000 more.

“The vultures are circling as New Zealand loses its first world status. The Government of Victoria is aggressively advertising for nurses to cross the ditch, and with the higher pay available nurses will continue to leave.

ACT would:

• 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

• Seek an independent review of Pharmac’s operating model for greater transparency and timeliness in decision making, while ensuring accelerated assessment and funding pathways to improve access to new, more advanced drugs

• Publicly subsidise more of the common elective surgeries in private hospitals through competitive tender

• Attract more doctors and primary healthcare professionals under a new immigration policy and establish better pathways for training and accreditation

• Establish a national IT platform for patient management, and tender the public healthcare procurement function for ten-year intervals under robust performance measurement

• Allow lease-back and build arrangements with large, reputable global infrastructure investment groups for the refurbishment of existing public healthcare infrastructure and the construction of new facilities

“The question Kiwis must be asking themselves is do we want to carry on in comfortable decline until we slip away from first world status, or do we want real change?”

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