The recently announced changes to the way health is administered in New Zealand are long overdue. We do not need 20 separate health authorities in New Zealand as the responses to the pandemic has illustrated. The current setup has simply put roadblock after roadblock in front of the efforts of the Ministry of Health to protect us from this pandemic. And as to the cost of over $5 million a year for the administration of the 20 Health Authorities, what a waste of money! There are many other reasons for their abolition one being there is little collaboration between them with each tendering for what they need. The British NHS system is one that we could well emulate.
But these changes only go halfway! The system needs more money and lots of it. $10 billion would help. One example will illustrate the need but there are many many more such situations
Some 10 years ago our GP said there was something “sinister” in my wife’s abdomen and she needed a scan. He said it would be 6 weeks later in the public system or in the next few days in the private system at a cost around $1000. We can’t afford health insurance, but we could find the money which was just as well as the scan showed stage four ovarian cancer. To be fair the public system then swung into action and she in now in total remission. But if she had not had the scan when she did and waited for the public system she would certainly be dead.
There are many in our country who cannot afford health insurance or could not find “the $1000”. Is this fair or just or even ethical?
A comparison with other countries that do have comprehensive health systems for all and not just those for who can afford insurance, does suggest our annual health budget needs about $10 billion more on an annual basis. And this does not include money that is needed to bring our system up to a reasonable standard for all.
This figure of $10 billion is also pretty close to estimates made by some of our own health professionals.
At the moment our health system is pretty good for those who can afford access to the private providers. For those that can’t our system lets them down badly.
And by the way we are one of the lowest taxed countries among the OECD and our wealthy are the least taxed. So the money is there.
Minister Little please finish the job.