11 September 2008

The New Zealand Medical Association (NZMA) welcomes the release today of Part 1 of the National Party’s health policy.

"We welcome in particular their recognition that clinicians need to have more say in the planning and delivery of our health services," says NZMA Chairman Dr Peter Foley. The reference to trusting and empowering clinicians more is very welcome. "It's critical that the health professional bodies are part of this process. "

"We also strongly support the requirement for District Health Boards to work more closely together. This is essential if New Zealand is to move away from the current trend of 'post-code' services, where each DHB largely determines its own health services and priorities.

"However it is essential that this greater coordination be accompanied by rigorous planning and the development of nationally consistent policy frameworks within which DHBs can plan and deliver services."

Dr Foley said the NZMA also supports recognition of the role of the private sector. "We have had a long-standing policy of seeking more explicit definition of the boundaries between the public and private sectors."

It is important that any government openly acknowledges, and supports, the vital contribution of the private system to the overall delivery of quality health care in New Zealand.

"We look forward to National’s future health policy announcements, particularly regarding the critical issues around the health workforce. Unless workforce issues are satisfactorily dealt with, in the context of a comprehensive workforce strategy, other changes will struggle to work."