Labour scraps health targets

Stuff reports:

Public reporting of District Health Boards’ (DHB) performance of procedures including elective surgeries, cancer treatment times and Emergency Department wait times, has been axed. 

This is such an awful decision. We have a Government that seems determined to not actually have any measurable outcomes in health and education. They want to spend more to do less.

These DHB targets have led to massive improvements for patients. More operations done, cancer patients treated quicker, more children immunised etc. And they have also saved lives as the Herald reported:

Thousands of lives are believed to have been saved by a six-hour wait time target for hospital emergency departments, which researchers say has helped halve the number of ED patient deaths.

People should be really angry that Labour are doing this. I wouldn’t mind if they had different targets to National. But they are having none.

So a target which saw a 57% reduction in ED deaths and 28% reduction in ED crowding is gone.

And while there has been no announcement, the National Patient Flow project – which measured the number of patients being turned away from the operating table – has not released any updated figures since September last year. That project was launched following intense political pressure from Labour, over surgical unmet need. 

This one is so hypocritical. National set up a project to measure unmet surgical demand after Labour complained just publishing completed procedures did not give a full picture. And what does Labour do – scrap the very project they demanded Labour do.

So under Labour we won’t know how many surgical procedures are being done, and how many people are waiting for one.

The Government allocated an extra $31.5 million for elective surgeries, but one of the National – to increase the volume of elective surgery by an average of 4000 discharges per year – was no longer being publicly measured. 

So just trust them.

The health targets worked. From 2008 to 2014 we saw:

  • Those getting cancer treatment within four weeks going from 65% to 100%
  • A 33% increase in elective surgery
  • Those treated within six hours in ED went from 70% to 94%
  • Immunisation rates for two year olds from 76% to 93%

Why do we have a Government that rather than embraces accountability by pledging actual outcomes, is doing everything they can to avoid it?

Comments (106)

Login to comment or vote

Add a Comment

%d bloggers like this: