Race based surgery eligiblity?

The Herald reports:

Māori and Pacific patients could be prioritised for some elective surgeries and appointments as DHBs look to reshape a system emerging from lockdown.

As alert level 2 nears, Auckland, Waitematā, Counties Manukau and Northland DHBs are preparing to tackle waiting lists lengthened by the postponement of procedures, and identify people with the highest clinical need.

“These are frequently Māori and Pacific peoples and they are also often the first to miss out at times of high demand or when there are other barriers to healthcare,” a spokeswoman for the DHBs said.

People accepted for treatment are often given a priority ranking. For example, priority one patients are considered urgent and might be seen within two weeks, priority two may be seen within six to eight weeks, and priority three and non-urgent cases face a wait of months.

One option that’s been discussed is bumping Māori and Pacific patients up a priority band in certain instances, the Weekend Herald understands.

That would be about as terrible a decision as you could make. Surigical priority should be based on an individual’s actual clinical need, not on whether or not they have a great great grand parent of a particular race.

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