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NZ Health System Better than USA & Australia

NZ Health System Better than USA & Australia

New Zealand should be proud of its public and private health care systems, according to a leading orthopaedic surgeon.

Professor Geoffrey Horne, the newly appointed president of the New Zealand Orthopaedic Association, and Professor of Surgery and Head of the Department of Surgery at the Wellington School of Medicine and Health Science, has viewed health care systems in many countries. "Instead of attacking our health care system we should be grateful for the comprehensive and competent health care available to all New Zealanders, be they public or private patients," says Professor Horne.

Professor Horne says that orthopaedic surgeons provide the greatest improvement in health per health care dollar compared with any other group of practitioners in New Zealand. Interventions such as total hip replacement provide the greatest improvement in quality of life per health dollar spent compared with any other intervention, he says. A strong supporter of the ACC and the philosophy it reflects, Professor Horne says that a no fault system is substantially better for the majority of patients than the systems operating in the US and Australia. "Their systems may benefit a few patients and support a large legal network, but are not sustainable in the long term as is illustrated by the collapse of the Australian medical insurance industry and the similar collapse in several US states."

Professor Horne has a particular interest in the reconstruction of arthritic joints and hip fractures. He has published nearly 100 articles on a variety of subjects ranging from hip joint replacement to the management of different fractures including many aspects of hip fractures as they affect New Zealanders. He has an extensive research program covering a variety of areas, including wear in artificial joints, the cost of waiting for surgery in New Zealand, and the outcome of hip fracture management in New Zealand.

The New Zealand Orthopaedic Association is a professional body of more than 150 orthopaedic surgeons. It includes a number of sub-specialty orthopaedic groups such as spine and knee specialists. The Association is responsible for the training of young orthopaedic surgeons, and in association with the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons, the monitoring of continuing education of those in practice. The Association runs a Continuing Education Program for surgeons in Practice and an Annual Scientific meeting to facilitate research and innovation in orthopaedic surgery.

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