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NZ top overall in Commonwealth survey of patients

Commonwealth Fund survey ranks New Zealand top overall in survey of patients

Health Minister Annette King says the Government takes considerable satisfaction from a Commonwealth Fund survey that ranks New Zealand top overall of five countries in terms of patient assessment of the quality of healthcare.

Ms King says the independent survey was carried out in 2001 and 2002 across nationally representative samples in the five Commonwealth Fund countries, the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand.

“While the survey ranks New Zealand top overall, there is certainly no room for complacency,” Ms King says.

“Patients in the five countries were surveyed across a wide range of measures, such as patient safety, patient-centredness, timeliness, efficiency, effectiveness and equity. As well as coming out top overall, we come out top in the areas of patient-centredness and timeliness, but we do not do as well in terms of equity.

“That is an area in which New Zealand is determined to do better, and I believe we are already doing so because of the way we have targeted funding at high-risk, low socio-economic areas since we began implementing the Primary Health Care Strategy in mid-2002.

“In New Zealand terms, there is plenty of evidence that equity issues generally affect low-income, Maori and Pacific New Zealanders. Clearly that is where we have needed to target spending first, although we are now also providing more affordable healthcare to all under-18s enrolled in Primary Health Organisations, and we will be doing so for all over-65s in PHOs from July 1.”

Ms King said the Commonwealth Fund is held in high regard among international policy-makers, and is a philanthropic, independent organisation carrying out extensive research each year. The latest survey ranks New Zealand top overall, Australia second, United Kingdom third, Canada fourth and United States fifth.

A full copy of the report is available at:

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