The Dom Post editorial:
Health Minister David Clark is scrapping National Health Targets that publicly address district health boards’ success or failure in achieving, among other things, reasonable treatment times, numbers getting surgery, waiting times in emergency departments, and immunisations.
Incredibly, the National Patient Flow project, which monitors the number of people turned away from surgery, and which Labour supported while in opposition, also appears to have been sidelined.
Basically anything which allows you to measure how well the Government is doing, has been scrapped. Even the measures they demanded in opposition!
In making these changes, he has criticised the “perverse incentives” created by the previous monitoring regime. Also, Labour has intimated that the DHBs and the previous National government padded the statistics with easier procedures, that they gamed the system. Trouble is, there’s no evidence. Just a “vibe”, it seems.
Who needs evidence. They banned an entire industry without evidence or analysis. Again there is a pattern.
Which makes it at least ironic, and certainly hypocritical, when this Government decides it will ditch publicly verified evidence of the health boards’ progress in delivering essential services.
Labour don’t want us to know what the waiting times in EDs will be under their Government. They don’t want us to know if cancer patients are starting treatment within four weeks.
This Government has set aside an extra $31.5 million for elective surgery; Clark insists that will mean more operations and that the performance of the Ministry of Health in delivering those will be monitored.
But we just won’t have the regular, public updates to help verify that.
What we do have is the minister’s assurances that more operations will be done, at lower cost, with more beneficial outcomes.
He appears to be asking us to simply trust him.
Based on his interactions with Middlemore, trusting him would be rather unwise.