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National has today released our eighth Discussion Document which focusses on health and outlines a range of policies which will enable more Kiwis to access high-quality healthcare, Leader of the Opposition Simon Bridges says.

“We believe all New Zealanders should have the opportunity to live well. When we need care, we should be able to access it no matter where we live or how much we earn.

“National wants New Zealand to be a healthy society with a health system where illnesses are prevented as much as possible and care is easily accessible. Intervening early to target emerging health problems is a core part of our Social Investment approach.

“The previous National Government set challenging targets in healthcare and reported back on those every three months so Kiwis could see how their local DHB was performing. These targets saved lives and ensured years of continuous improvement.

“Under this Government, six thousand fewer New Zealanders were able to access an elective surgery in the past year, waiting times are increasing and targets have been scrapped.

“This Government has broken promises on health to New Zealanders and just isn’t delivering the care they need. Kiwis are missing out.

“We’re proposing a range of measures to ensure our health system is well managed and gives Kiwis the care they need and deserve.

Some of our commitments include:

  • Re-establishing National Health Targets, which will be updated and extended to primary providers that receive public funding. Performance against targets will be published;
  • Creating a common points system across DHBs and specialties to eliminate access inequities to surgery;
  • Establishing an independent cancer agency outside the control of the Ministry of Health and DHBs;
  • Ensuring services are delivered as close to patients as possible, with provision managed locally;
  • Restoring PHARMAC funding and increasing it at the same rate as DHB cost pressure increases;
  • Expanding the ‘Daily Mile’ programme to more New Zealand schools, with an expectation all schools take part by 2025; and
  • Requiring Plunket nurses screen for postnatal depression.

We’re also proposing or asking for New Zealanders’ feedback on:

  • What services and support should be put in place in first 1000 days of a child’s life for children most at risk of adverse outcomes;
  • A centralised approach to the commissioning of mental health services;
  • Improving access to treatment and rehabilitation for arthritis;
  • How we can best support disabled people into employment;
  • Increasing government’s contribution to hospice care to 70 per cent of the cost of maintaining services;
  • Streamlining the ACC claims process; and
  • Whether DHBs should still be elected.

“National believes all New Zealanders should have access to high-quality care. We’ll restore confidence in New Zealand’s public health system and deliver care for you, your children and family.

“This document is part of the biggest policy development process by an Opposition ever. The current Government has overseen fewer elective surgeries, a measles outbreak and DHB deficits have ballooned. It’s failing to deliver for New Zealanders.

“We’re doing the work in Opposition now so we’re ready to hit the ground running in 2020.”

You can view the discussion document here

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