Access to good quality health services is important for all of us. That’s why, despite the worst economic conditions in more than 80 years, the National-led Government has invested an average of $500 million of new money every year into our public health service.
But it’s not just about putting more money in. We inherited a health system in which funding had doubled but where 30,000 people were cut from waiting lists without surgery. Patients had to fly to Australia for cancer treatment. And we were desperately short of doctors, nurses, and midwives.
National has worked hard to build our public health service and help deliver the services you and your family need.
Hospitals have performed an extra 60,000 elective operations over the past three years. That includes more than 23,000 extra operations for people aged over 65 and 3100 extra operations for children under nine.
National is delivering on its promise to make elective surgery more accessible, with an extra 3,068 people in Counties-Manukau over the last two years benefitting from this improved access. Elective surgery includes operations such as cataract removal, joint replacements, and grommets for children.
We’ve worked hard to reduce the stress on people diagnosed with cancer and give them peace of mind when they need it most. Under National, all patients ready for, and needing, radiation treatment are receiving it within the world gold standard of four weeks. Just three years ago patients had to wait up to 16 weeks or travel to Australia for this treatment.
We have invested an extra $100 million over the past three years to keep doctor visits affordable. This means 95 per cent of all high needs children under the age of six have access to free doctor visits.
Immunisation rates among New Zealand children have been low for many decades. Now, we’re immunising 90 per cent of two-year-olds. That’s up from around 70 per cent three years ago. In some places, the Māori immunisation rate is higher than the general rate.
We are also delivering on our promise to provide more medicines to those who need them, with an extra 166,000 prescriptions made available in Counties-Manukau. This includes medication to treat depression, cancer, Crohn’s disease, cardiac and respiratory problems and the first subsidised medication to help treat Alzheimer’s disease.
Doctors, nurses, and midwives are the face of our health system. When National came into Government, New Zealand was desperately short of these important health professionals.
Around 250 extra nurses and 110 more doctors have been added to Counties-Manukau public health since National was elected.
In addition, there are more than 1800 graduate doctors, nurses, and midwives signed up to our voluntary bonding scheme around the country, including 15 midwives and 30 nurses at Counties Manukau DHB. They have the opportunity to settle into communities and gain valuable experience in their fields. The success of our scheme shows that many of our medical graduates want to stay in New Zealand.
National is delivering on our promise to provide better, sooner, more convenient healthcare. We’re committed to building and protecting our public health service for you and your family.