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Health Strategy Document - More Details Needed

Health Strategy Document Welcome, But More Details Needed

The New Zealand Medical Association welcomes the New Zealand Health Strategy discussion document as an indication of the Government's broad intentions for health.

"The NZMA shares the Government's wish to improve the health of New Zealanders, and supports the approach to tackle poverty and other social factors which have a huge influence on health," said NZMA Chairman Dr Pippa MacKay, a member of the Sector Reference Group, which was consulted about the document.

"We are pleased that the competitive health model for publicly-funded services, which we have long opposed, has gone."

Dr MacKay said the document identifies the current situation and sets Government priorities, which is a worthwhile exercise.

"It is a broad document, which focuses on what the Government wants but not how it will be achieved. A lot more policy detail is needed before we will know how the strategy will work.

"And critically, the document does not include the Government's health funding strategies. The health sector will need more money if these policies are to be effective, and the Government needs to be explicit about its commitment to long-term funding."

Dr MacKay said the document also did not mention some major issues, such as the role of the private sector in health, and the interface between the public and private sectors.

"Many people access private health services, and these are an integral part of the overall New Zealand health system. Private hospitals, for example, are not mentioned in the document at all."


Dr Pippa MacKay (03) 351 6198 (wk) (025) 484 718 (mobile)

Shani Naylor Communications Co-ordinator (04) 472 4741 (wk) (025) 284 1081 (mobile)

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