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Health Minister still failing Māori and Pacific people

4 December 2013

Health Minister still failing Māori and Pacific people

New figures released by the Green Party today demonstrate how the Minister of Health is failing Māori and Pacific people.

Green Party health spokesperson Kevin Hague asked the Minister of Health through parliamentary written questions about admissions to hospital that could have been avoided. These ‘Ambulatory Sensitive Hospitalisation’ (ASH) rates including Emergency Department cases with a treatment time of 3 hours or more, broken down by socioeconomic groups.

“The Minister of Health is failing Māori and Pacific people. He is ignoring inequality on yet another indicator with Pacific, Māori and poorer New Zealanders having much higher rates of being hospitalised for things that could have been avoided,” said Green Party health spokesperson Kevin Hague.

“Maori rates of avoidable hospitalisation are more than double that of the rest of the population. Pacific rates are almost triple that of the rest of the population.

“This inequality is also affected by income. In 2012, the lowest deprivation quintile had ASH rates of 4,273 per 100,000 people, almost 3 times the rate of the richest quartile at 1,504 per 100,000 people.

“Letting an illness get so bad that you have to be hospitalised is costing our health system and is a horrible and avoidable experience for too many New Zealanders.

“We believe everyone deserves a good life and a fair future and we can achieve that if prioritise the health of the most vulnerable New Zealanders.

“There has been no real improvement in reducing avoidable hospitalisations while Tony Ryall has been Minister.

“The data we have received from the Minister shows substantial inequalities, which are not improving and in some groups are actually getting worse.

“It’s no wonder Tony Ryall doesn’t want to report this as a performance indicator and it is interesting to note that these indicators were one of the targets in the National Health Targets that Tony Ryall removed as soon as he because Minister,” said Mr Hague.

Maori and Pacific ASH rates as proportion of rest of population:

YearMāori ASH rates as percentage of otherPacific ASH rates as percentage of other
2003 Average207%252%
2004 Average202%263%
2005 average197%242%
2006 average198%256%
2007 average210%278%
2008 average207%295%
2009 average220%299%
2010 average214%280%
2011 average214%296%
2012 average209%287%

ASH rates broken down by deprivation quintile:

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