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It’s disappointing that the interim report on the Health and Disability System review is more than 300 pages long but doesn’t contain a single recommendation, National’s Health spokesperson Michael Woodhouse says.

“A review of the health and disability sector is timely and welcome, but it’s extraordinary that after nine years in opposition, two in Government, and despite how much work has been done and the length of the report, we still have no more information than we did two years ago.

“The report explicitly states that there’s ‘nothing surprising here’, but if none of this is new, the Government should tell us what it’s going to do to ensure New Zealand’s health system better serves New Zealanders.

“This report cost $9.5 million – more than twice the cost of its review of the tax system. If it’s to be money well spent, we would expect to see some sense of direction.

“And despite the Government’s claims the health system lacks leadership, it isn’t showing any leadership either.

“After 11 years, a massive review and a 300-page report, it’s time the Government provided clarity on what it wants to do with our health system.

“National supports the proposal to develop strategies that will modernise and strengthen the health workforce.

“We’re also in favour of preventative healthcare – as long as that doesn’t come at the cost of the care New Zealanders need now.

“But the report’s comments on system structure are muddled and if there’s going to be reform, we need to know how that will look. It says that the current structure is too confusing, but that restructuring would be ‘disruptive’. 

“Either structural reform is on this Government’s agenda or it isn’t. The public and health sector deserve greater clarity on its plans.

“At this point, all we have is yet another review with no tangible outcomes for New Zealanders who are struggling now with increased surgery wait times and poorer performance on a range of key measures, including immunisation and cancer treatment.”

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