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Getting the most out of every health dollar

6 September 2012
Media Statement

Getting the most out of every health dollar

Health Minister Tony Ryall today told attendees at the New Zealand Emergency Department (ED) Conference in Taupō that we need to continuously improve effectiveness to get the most out of every health dollar.

“We have made significant improvements over the past four years. Record numbers of patients are now treated in emergency departments within 6 hours and I thank ED staff throughout the country for their hard work in achieving this – but in these tight financial times we need to do more,” said Mr Ryall.

“The theme of this year’s conference ‘doing more with less – living within our means’ is very relevant with the significant pressures on our health budget and those around the world.

“Last week, the Irish Health Ministry announced a $200 million cost reduction package in an attempt to reduce their deficit which is expected to reach $800 million by the end of the year. They plan to make significant cuts to services and staff numbers, with the head of their Ministry confirming hospital beds and theatres will be closed as a result.

“Last year the Irish government also cut salaries for hospital doctors, who as a group are apparently the highest paid public employees in Ireland.

“The New Zealand public health service is doing better than many other countries. In 2009/10, while other OECD countries were reducing health spending, New Zealand had a 3.4 per cent increase in real health spend, the third highest of 27 nations.

“However, as a fifth of all government spending goes into health, we need to ensure we are getting the most out of every dollar and provide New Zealanders with quality health care.

Mr Ryall set a challenge for ED clinical leaders to promote a culture in their hospitals where staff are encouraged to make improvements and deliver better health services for patients.

“We have worked together as a public health service to ensure that slower health expenditure growth has been achieved without reducing services or clinical staff. And we will need to keep working together over the coming years to keep achieving that.”

This is the fifth time Mr Ryall has spoken at the New Zealand Emergency Department Conference, which is attended by emergency department doctors, nurses and managers from around the country.

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