Terms of reference shackle health review
1st June 2018
“The terms of reference for the recently announced health review shackle its potential to take full advantage of the opportunity to bring about transformational change” says Chris Higgins, New Zealanders for Health Research Chief Executive.
“We are very concerned that there is nothing in the terms of reference which calls for the review panel to recommend how health research should contribute to the best practice and evidence based policies that will be fundamental to bringing about the required changes, as required by the government’s own Health Research Strategy” said Mr Higgins.
“The 2018 budget was bad news for health research. From 2019/20 the direct financial allocation to health research as a percentage of health care costs will begin to decline to just 0.7% of health care costs over the following six years”
“At a time when the government is aspiring to raise its R&D investment generally to two percent of GDP this doesn’t make any sense” said Mr Higgins “and should be sufficiently worrying for investment in health research to be specifically provided for in the health review’s terms of reference”.
“We note that there are only passing references to the importance of preventing ill health, and maintain that if we’re really serious about mitigating demand for health services this should be a stand alone term of reference in its own right”
“We were also surprised that given the role of medicines in restoring and maintaining good health that PHARMAC has been specifically excluded from the review’s terms of reference”
Mr Higgins said that on a positive note he was heartened that the government had endorsed the New Zealand Health Research Strategy and the ten science challenges.