More on consultants instead of the frontline

The Labour Government continues to spend critical health resources on backroom consultants rather than frontline services, National’s Health spokesperson Dr Shane Reti says.

“Health Minister Dr Ayesha Verrall revealed that Health NZ hired 343 ‘new’ consultants in the first six months of its operation, with 26 of them being public relations consultants.

“This Labour Government is clearly out of ideas and spraying money on consultants to push their ideological health restructure – all while delivering some of the worst health metrics and making access to health even harder for sick and injured New Zealanders.

“When pushed on the total costs of consultants for Health NZ, the Minister claimed she did not know. The figure is likely sitting in the Minister’s ‘hide the bad news’ drawer, along with the emergency department wait time figures that she still refuses to release.

“Dissatisfied with the Minister’s response on total cost on consultants, I looked at the other two health systems: the Ministry of Health and the Māori Health Authority.

“In the first six months since Health NZ was established, the Ministry of Health reported it spent $21 million on consultants, while the Māori Health Authority spent $8 million – however it is yet to be seen how this expenditure has helped improve any Māori health outcomes.

“This Government is putting money towards spin doctors instead of real doctors, while health continues to deteriorate across the country – wait times for emergency departments, first specialist appointments and surgery are all at record highs, yet Labour continues to spend millions with no improvements.

“A National Government will stop the waste and instead build the health workforce. National will set targets and will hold itself accountable for achieving them.”