Wellington – New Zealand announced on Wednesday that it would integrate its fragmented healthcare system into a national service similar to what many in the UK admire.
The system operated by the New Zealand Government is currently divided into 20 district health committees, each with its own budget. Some people describe this system as a “zip code lottery” that is treated differently depending on where people live.
Health Minister Andrew Little said in three years the district committee will be replaced by a single new organization called the New Zealand Health Department. He promised to focus more and more on public health and early treatment of people so they wouldn’t get to the hospital.
He said the coronavirus pandemic forced the system into a rare and welcome collaboration, but that wasn’t the usual way.
The overhaul also includes the new Indigenous Maori Health Department.
“Our system is very complicated. It’s too complicated for a small country,” Little said. “You don’t need 20 different decision makers.”
The scope of the overhaul was surprising to many and exceeded the recommendations of the review panel. It was carefully welcomed by several groups representing doctors and healthcare professionals.
But opposition health spokesman Dr. Shane Letty said restructuring was “reckless” and would leave the community and small communities silent. He said the government had an ideology of centralized control.
“New Zealand’s health is likely to be just another bureaucracy that the government has to fund, rather than investing in where it’s most needed,” Letty said.
Health Minister Ayesha Verrall says the new public health agency is in a better position for professionals to fight future pandemics and can focus more strategically on issues such as diabetes, cancer and heart disease. Stated.
Associate Health Minister Peeni Henare also said the new Maori Health Department will have better control over Maori, who are on average poorer than other New Zealanders.
New Zealand’s healthcare system is government-sponsored, but patients still have to pay a portion of their costs to see a doctor and access many other services. More than one-third of adults choose to pay additional benefits provided by private health insurance companies.
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New Zealand Integrates Healthcare into National Service
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