“This is the Government that set out on a half-billion-dollar healthcare restructure in the middle of a pandemic, and the results have actually gotten worse since. Vaccination rates, waiting lists, and GP numbers are all worse than they were even a year ago.

“This is the Government that restricted immigration, making it harder to hire the health professionals we desperately needed.

“This is the Government that ran down the economy, making life harder here for doctors and nurses and much more attractive to move to Australia.

“Having broken healthcare, the Government is attempting another triumph of spin over substance, the real story is unending failure thanks to mismanagement.

“Patient Flow Indicators show that every district in New Zealand has been at “red” for the past 12 months for “patients waiting longer than the required time frame for their first specialist appointment” and “patients given a commitment to treatment but not treated within the required time frame.”

  • As at Apr-23, 34,662 patients have been given a commitment to treatment but have not been treated within the required time frame. This is up from 25,710 in May-22, an increase of 35% in less than a year.
  • As at Apr-23, 56,051 patients had been waiting longer than the required time frame for their first specialist assessment, up from 35,803 in May-22, an increase of 57% in less than a year.

“Vaccine coverage has degraded significantly, especially for Māori, who the Government claim to be helping most with an entire new bureaucracy. Overall, vaccine coverage for five years olds has decreased from 89.1 per cent in 2017 to 81 per cent in 2023, but for Māori it has plummeted from 87 per cent to 69.7 per cent in the same time period. Remind us what the point of the Māori Health Authority is again if it can’t even help young Māori get vaccinated?

“The vultures have been circling as New Zealand loses its first world status. Australian states have aggressively advertised for health professionals to cross the ditch, and with the higher pay over there and social issues occurring in New Zealand, people will continue to leave.

“We don’t even compare with Australia when it comes to accessing General Practitioners either. Australia has about 110 GPs for every 100,000 people, New Zealand has 74 for every 100,000. For New Zealand to match Australia’s least equipped state, we would need to find an extra 1,000 GPs. The most recent annual increase for New Zealand was 15.

“ACT would provide General Practices with the funding boost they deserve. Our alternative budget pledges a 13 per cent increase in capitation funding.

“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.

“You have to admire the bravery of Labour’s comms and marketing teams, trying to make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear, but it would be better if the Government actually managed healthcare efficiently and effectively.”

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