News Video | Policy | GPs | Hospitals | Medical | Mental Health | Welfare | Search

 

Time for an honest look at funding of public health system

Time for an honest look at funding of New Zealand’s public health system

An article in the latest New Zealand Medical Journal, out today (Friday), dismantles claims that the cost of public health care in this country is excessive and unsustainable.

The article, Funding New Zealand’s public health care system: time for an honest appraisal and public debate, examines data from the Treasury and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and concludes that claims about New Zealand’s health care spending are based on a misrepresentation.

It was written jointly by Lyndon Keene and Ian Powell from the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists (ASMS), Christchurch surgeon Phil Bagshaw (who chairs the Canterbury Charity Hospital Trust), Emeritus Professor M. Gary Nicholls (Department of Medicine, University of Otago), Council of Trade Unions economist and Director of Policy Dr Bill Rosenberg, and Professor Christopher Frampton (Biostatistician, University of Otago - Christchurch).

The article illustrates how New Zealand’s health care spending is low compared with most other OECD countries and how it is falling as a proportion of GDP. In particular, it argues the Government can afford to spend more on health care and that there is a compelling case for doing so; for example, to respond to population growth and aging.

“Health professionals of all types are dealing with a tsunami of unmet health need in this country, people who have a clearly defined clinical need for treatment but cannot get it because the health system isn’t resourced properly,” says Ian Powell, ASMS Executive Director.

“If these needs are not met by public health services, the costs do not magically disappear. Those patients and untreated health issues will resurface elsewhere and the costs will still have to be borne by the economy. So all the Government is doing is robbing Peter to pay Paul rather than actually addressing the issues.”

The Medical Journal article appears a day after the Government announced its Budget for the coming year. A preliminary analysis shows an overall operational funding shortfall of $304 million, including a funding shortfall for district health boards of approximately $131 million.

One of the other authors of the Medical Journal article, Christchurch surgeon and Chair of the Canterbury Charity Hospital Trust, Phil Bagshaw, is currently researching the level of unmet adult health need in New Zealand.

“The amount of unmet need for hospital care has increased to an unacceptable level,” he says. “The Government must address this problem urgently. We are at risk of sliding into an American-style health system where a large section of our community is left without an acceptable level of care.”

Mr Powell says the Medical Journal article brings together various perspectives on the funding of health care in New Zealand, and highlights the need for honest scrutiny of the facts and figures.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

 

City Of 100 Lovers: Multi-Million Dollar NZ Theatre Production To Launch

Produced in New Zealand, the $8Million budget, musical comedy, City of 100 Lovers, has been created for locals and tourists alike. More>>

Indycars: Dixon Wins Fifth US Championship

The New Zealand motor racing driver Scott Dixon has won the US Indycar championship for the fifth time. Dixon finished second in the final race of the season in Sonoma in California. More>>

ALSO:

Howard Davis Review: The Outsider Art of Tony Fomison

Among such gifted contemporaries as Bill Hammond, Tony de la Tour, and printmaker Jason Grieg, Fomison distinguished himself as highly idiosyncratic, and could have become wealthy, had not his demons prevented him from investing his income wisely. In his near monochrome oil painting on black hessian, he staked out a territory of morbid originality. More>>

Scoop Review Of Books: Immortal Love

The series has a wild-west tone with a steampunk vibe, so if you’re a fan of Joss Whedon’s Firefly or Joe Abercrombie’s Shattered Sea, then chances are you’ll enjoy this book. More>>

Howard Davis Review: The Trappings of Success - McQueen

This troubling documentary about the extraordinary life and untimely death of British fashion designer Alexander McQueen (1969 - 2010) is a cautionary tale of an extremely gifted, but self-destructive soul caught up in a business that chews up and spits out its creative talent. More>>

Anne Russell: On Nanette, And The Limitations Of Stories

Since many detractors fault Gadsby or other women for talking about their trauma publicly, Gadsby’s most ardent fans mistakenly perceive virtually any criticism of Nanette as misogynist. More>>

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • CULTURE
  • HEALTH
  • EDUCATION
 
 
  • Wellington
  • Christchurch
  • Auckland