“Te Whatu Ora’s long-delayed release of performance data has proven once again that increased spending does not mean better services, especially with Labour who has run down the health system to the point of crisis,” says ACT’s Deputy Leader and Health spokesperson Brooke van Velden.

“Labour has increased spending in health by 68 per cent in five years. In return, all New Zealanders have received is longer waiting times and racial discrimination across a system that is reported to be in a state of collapse.

“The data, which had previously been scrubbed from Te Whatu Ora’s website because of consistent inaccuracies, says that across the 20 districts:

  • 14 districts saw huge increases in people waiting more than a year for treatment. In Canterbury, the number of people waiting quadrupled
  • All but six districts have increased waiting times for cancer treatment
  • All but five districts have longer mental health waiting times for under 25s
  • All but four regions have fewer people waiting more than four months for first specialist assessments. In some regions, such as Auckland, the number of people waiting has more than doubled
  • All but three regions have fewer people waiting more than four months for treatment. In some regions, such as Canterbury, the number of people waiting has more than doubled
  • For 11 districts there was an increase of greater than 10% in emergency department length of stay.

“People like to think New Zealand is a first world country, but does that sound like a first world health system?

“The health system is slipping away from first world status and the Government seems uninterested in fixing it. It has focussed on a costly administrative restructure and prioritising waiting lists by ethnicity, neither of these things are improving Kiwis’ access.

“The Government’s focus for health needs to single-mindedly be on improving access for all New Zealanders, which will ultimately be determined by a strong frontline service, not an enormous backroom bureaucracy. ACT will bring that focus to the next Government.

“The vultures are circling as New Zealand loses its first world status. Australian states are aggressively advertising for health professionals to cross the ditch, and with the higher pay available people will continue to leave.

“People like to think of New Zealand as a first world country but our income figures tell a different story. Until we have a government focussed on economic growth we will continue to see tragedies in our health system.

“Having better health services will take a change of direction for New Zealand. ACT’s Alternative Budget for Real Change shows a plan to arrest the decline and grow the economy. It would get the country back into surplus and allows New Zealanders to keep more of their income to invest.

“It will take real change to stop the decline from first world status and make our health system one New Zealanders can have faith in again.”

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