Former chair Rob Campbell slams Te Whatu Ora's lack of action on wait time recommendations

Rob Campbell
Rob Campbell Photo credit: AM

Te Whatu ora has been slammed for a lack of urgency in implementing 101 recommendations to cut treatment wait times after it was revealed only three of these recommendations have been completed.

A planned care taskforce made 101 recommendations last October to improve access to treatment and operations.   

As of 1 November, three of the 101 had been completed, 70 had started on planning or implementation, and 28 had not been started on yet.   

Former Te Whatu Ora chair Rob Campbell said the pace of action needed some improvement.

He weighed into the debate saying that it's simply not moving at the pace that the public deserves.  

"Te Whatu Ora needs to be more open about the longstanding issues that need to be addressed including recruitment and staff pay." 

He also said that the incoming government has its work cut out for it already, saying they have a lot of unhappy patients and staff to deal with.    

"It's unfair to not just patients but the frontline staff who are paying for Te Whatu Ora's lack of action."  

While some cities have seen a noticeable drop in the time taken waiting for treatment, Campbell said it's not enough.     

In Northland, 648 people waited over a year to receive treatment last year. This year that number has dropped to 315. In the Bay of Plenty it was at 283 last year and is now at 144.     

However, for Cantabrians there has been an increase in time spent waiting.     

Te Whatu Ora Counties Manukau planned care task force chair Andrew Connolly told AM the 101 recommendations are not simple fixes.     

He said there's significant work going into 70 of these and they're making good progress.     

However, he said the 'post code lottery' is keeping Cantabrians from getting the same results as the North Island districts.     

Connolly said it comes down to staffing down south and there is "a lot of work left to do".     

Te Whatu Ora has proposed that by the end of 2023 no one should be waiting over a year for treatment, particularly in the northern districts.