Terrible timing of restructuring reinforces Government’s inept approach to health

The Government’s appointment of board members to head up its ill-timed and ideologically-driven health system restructure shows how out of step it is on the chronic issues currently affecting New Zealand’s health system, says National’s Health spokesperson Dr Shane Reti.

“The Government’s costly distraction with restructuring the health system in the middle of a pandemic may explain why our Intensive Care Units were under-prepared and why Auckland is still in Level 3 lockdown.

“The Government has so far spent $38 million on 78 Wellington bureaucrats and another $4.3 million on 21 Ernst & Young consultants to plan the restructure project. This money could have been used to pay a premium, as other countries did, to get the Pfizer vaccine into New Zealand much more quickly.

“The Government should be focusing on the 62,000 cancelled procedures, including for people with cancer, right now rather than progressing health restructuring during a pandemic.

“And today’s announcement of board appointments for the ideological restructure is both cynical and confounding.

“Why does the Government continue to disregard General Practitioners? There is no primary care person on the new Health New Zealand board, which continues the Government’s theme of ignoring GPs and pharmacies throughout the Covid vaccine rollout.

“Instead, the Government is adding layers of new health bureaucracy, at a starting cost of $486 million.

“Does the Government not understand or appreciate that primary care is the gateway to the health system and by continuing to ignore this fact that  the system will fail?”

An answer a to Written Parliamentary Question (WPQ) is below:

Reply 32156 (2021) has been answered
Portfolio: Health (Hon Andrew Little)
Question: Are the health reforms to commence in July 2022 and if so what parts of the reforms will start in July 2022?

Work on the reforms is already well underway, with the establishment of the Transition Unit in DPMC, engagement with stakeholders on the New Zealand Health Charter, and good progress on recruitment of the interim boards for the Māori Health Authority and Health New Zealand. In July 2022 I expect the permanent entities to begin operating as the establishing legislation comes into effect.