National announces plans to address “unacceptable” wait times at EDs & faster cancer treatment

Chris Lynch
Chris Lynch
Sep 10, 2023 |

National’s Health spokesperson Dr Shane Reti

If elected, a National Government will bring back targets for ED wait times and cancer treatment.

National’s Health spokesperson Dr Shane Reti said “the Labour Government’s approach to health has taken New Zealand backwards.

“Wait lists and emergency department wait times have soared, childhood immunisation rates have plunged, and New Zealanders are facing longer delays to access urgent cancer treatment or surgery.

“That’s unacceptable to National. Put simply, health targets save lives so we will restore them to focus the system on doing better for New Zealanders. We will hold ourselves publicly accountable for progress by publishing the results every quarter, for each region.  

“Having transparent targets with regular, robust reporting helps identify where the system is falling short and focuses effort on improving outcomes.”

National’s five major targets for health will be:

1.    Shorter stays in emergency department – 95% of patients to be admitted, discharged or transferred from an emergency department within six hours.

2.    Faster cancer treatment – 85% of patients to receive cancer management within 31 days of the decision to treat.

3.    Improved immunisation – 95% of two-year-olds receiving their full age-appropriate immunisations.

4.    Shorter wait times for first specialist assessment – a meaningful reduction in the number of people waiting more than four months to see a specialist (target to be set in government).

5.    Shorter wait times for surgery – a meaningful reduction in the number of people waiting more than four months for surgery (target to be set in government).

 National has also announced a one-off Immunisation Incentive Payments programme for GP clinics to lift childhood immunisations for two-year-olds, Measles Mumps & Rubella immunisations in under 18s, and improve the flu vaccination rate in those aged 65 and over.

“Under the Immunisation Incentive Payments plan, GP clinics will be eligible for a one-off payment of $10 per enrolled patient on their books, provided they lift childhood immunisations, MMR vaccinations and flu jabs by five percentage points among eligible patients before June 30, 2024” Dr Reti said.

That means, for example, a clinic with several GPs and 4,500 enrolled patients would receive a payment of $45,000 if it meets the three improvement measures.

“If every GP clinic in New Zealand meets the target, the cost of the Immunisation Incentive Payment would be $52 million and will be funded from National’s commitment to increasing health funding every year we are in office.

“We’ve already announced that a National Government will increase health funding every year, will fund 13 new cancer treatments, extend the breast cancer screening age to 74 and address the health workforce crisis by training 220 more doctors each year, and repaying up to $22,500 off nurses and midwives’ student loans in exchange for being bonded to work in New Zealand for five years after graduating” Dr Reti said.

Chris Lynch
Chris Lynch

Chris Lynch is a journalist, videographer and content producer, broadcasting from his independent news and production company in Christchurch, New Zealand. If you have a news tip or are interested in video content, email [email protected]

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