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Private Surgical Hospitals Delighted With The Proposed Health Sector Reforms

Private surgical hospitals are delighted the proposed health sector reforms will help address the question of surgery access inequity and reduce surgical waiting lists

One of the key Health and Disability System review’s recommendations is that “hospital and specialist services should operate as a cohesive Tier 2 network …”.

It also states that “most Tier 2 services should continue to be delivered by every DHB, with more complex services being led by agreed providers …”

President of the New Zealand Private Surgical Hospitals Association, Richard Whitney, sees these recommendations creating more active and strategic collaboration between the public and private sectors.

“Hopefully this will mean closer and more productive working relationships for us with policymakers and a greater appetite among DHBs for partnering for the delivery of a wide range of healthcare services.

“If the review drives that outcome it will greatly enhance health service delivery and efficiency through the reduction of waiting lists, benefitting tens of thousands of Kiwis who, at the moment, can’t get access to the surgery they need in a timely fashion.”

Private surgical hospitals undertake more than 180,000 procedures a year, greater than 50 per cent of all elective surgeries in New Zealand.

Whitney says the private sector has the willingness, appetite, capability and capacity to help shift the dial on how sector-wide services could and should be arranged.

He says the sector needs to see a universal approach amongst all DHBs to leverage this opportunity on a long-term and strategic basis.

“The Covid crisis has shown us all that a partnership approach not only works very well but is also critical in ensuring efficient, effective and equitable service provision

“As a sector, we worked much more closely and productively with DHBs during the pandemic, but the norm, regretfully, tends to be that DHBs use us on an as and when required basis.

“That creates inefficiencies and extra costs for the health system, creating inevitable service barriers for patients.

“We’ve long urged government to implement a formal policy of engaging private hospitals, as part of an all-of-sector approach, to help address the growing, unmet demand for elective surgery, and we’re pleased to see this being one of Heather Simpson’s review recommendations.”

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