Senior doctors welcome Government’s recognition of importance of public health service –


The senior doctors’ union has welcomed the Government’s recognition of the importance of universal public health services and the need for further improvements.

“Our public hospitals and other publicly-funded health services are as essential today as they were 80 years ago when the 1938 Social Security Act came into being,” says Ian Powell, Executive Director of the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists (ASMS).

He was commenting on Health Minister David Clark’s acknowledgement of 80 years of public health services (

“It’s worth noting that New Zealand introduced a universal public health service a decade before the United Kingdom, and the forward thinking of that time is something to be proud of,” says Mr Powell.

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“It is easy to forget the ground breaking and historical significant landmark in New Zealand’s social and economic development.  Good on Dr Clark for reminding us.

“However, as the Minister notes, further improvements are needed. Long-standing issues of workforce shortages, hospital resourcing, disempowerment of health professionals and difficulties accessing hospital treatment need to be addressed to ensure the public health system can be celebrated again in 20 years’ time on the centenary of the 1938 legislation.”