Public health service can do more for patients   8 Jun 2012

Health Minister Tony Ryall today told attendees at the Annual Rotorua General Practice Conference and Medical Exhibition that the public health service is delivering for patients, but can do better.

“We have made significant improvements over the past four years including record numbers of children immunised, record numbers of smokers quitting, record numbers of patients treated faster and more doctors and nurses employed in the public health service than ever before – but we can do more,” said Mr Ryall.

“The New Zealand public health service is doing better than many other countries. For example $1 billion is being cut from current health programmes in Australia, in the UK 900 jobs are being cut from the London Ambulance Service alone, and a third of Portugal’s public hospitals are insolvent resulting in an 11% cut in their health budget next year.

“It’s also been reported almost 150 of this year’s medical graduates in New South Wales will not be offered jobs in that state because of an oversupply of first year junior doctors.

This National government is committed to protecting and growing the public health service. $14.12 billion is being spent on health this financial year – the biggest investment ever. Health’s budget increase is three times greater than education and five times greater than welfare.

“The major challenge for the public health services in New Zealand over the next three to five years will be to focus on what matters most – using health dollars to get better healthcare for patients.

Improvements can be made by community and hospital services working more closely together in their own regions and with their neighbouring district health boards – meaning a smarter use of our workforce and increasing clinical leadership.

“I am confident we will continue to make improvements and deliver better health services for New Zealanders in these tight financial times.

This is the sixth time Mr Ryall has spoken at the General Practice Conference and Medical Exhibition, which is attended by general practitioners, registrars, registered nurses and general practice managers from around the country.

(New Zealand Government)

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