07 March 2014

The New Zealand Medical Association is disappointed in the Government’s response to the Parliamentary Health Select Committee’s report on improving child health outcomes.

“The Health Committee called for an effective whole-of-government approach for children, with an integrated approach to service delivery and a particular focus on early intervention,” says NZMA Chair Dr Mark Peterson.

“The Government has come back with a piecemeal, fragmented response to the report’s call for a whole-of-government, inter-agency plan.

“As we said when we welcomed the Select Committee’s report, setting the desired health outcomes within the broader picture of education, housing, parenting, income and other factors makes it clear that a ‘whole-of-government, co-ordinated action plan’ is vital to the future well-being of our children – and our society as a whole.

“The recommendations that have been accepted by the Government, generally point to activity already in place. Responses to the Report’s key recommendations are buried in the body of a response that offers no vision and little action.

“Rejected recommendations include such issues of vital health concern as adding folic acid to bread, protecting children from marketing of unhealthy food and developing national policy on the fluoridation of water.

“This response is an opportunity lost.”