National Party promises to bring back health targets

The National Party has stressed that waiting targets and cancer targets are the most urgent.
The National Party has stressed that waiting targets and cancer targets are the most urgent. Photo credit: Newshub

The National Party has revealed its plan to return targets for shortening wait times, access to cancer treatments and improved immunisations. 

National Leader Christopher Luxon announced the policy on Sunday, alongside health spokesman Shane Reti at Auckland's Health New Lynn Medical Centre. 

"Every single health outcome has gone backwards over the past six years," Luxon said. 

"Not one has improved," he stressed. "National will bring back health targets because they save lives. That means being able to give New Zealanders access to the 13 cancer treatments that they currently don't have access to. 

"If you get a cancer diagnosis today and it takes more than four months to get your first specialist appointment, and another four months to get your first surgery, that is literally the difference between life and death." 

Their plan, Targeting Better Health Outcomes, includes five major targets. 

  • Shorter stays in emergency departments 
  • Faster cancer treatment
  • Lift MMR immunisation rates 
  • Reduced wait times for first specialist appointment 
  • Shorter wait times for surgery 

National said the specific targets for the last two goals will be set if the party wins the election. Reti said the Labour Government had not yet published the information necessary to establish the targets. 

"We believe waiting times are urgent, we believe cancer times are urgent," Reti said. 

"We are very determined that we build back the workforce so that we can see growth in the healthcare system going forward." 

Results would be published every quarter for each region. 

"Having transparent targets with regular, robust reporting helps identify where the system is falling short and focuses effort on improving outcomes," Reti said. 

National would also establish a one-off Immunisation Incentive payments programme for GP clinics to lift childhood immunisations for two-year-olds, measles mumps and rubella (MMR)  immunisations in those under 18, and improve the flu vaccination rate in those aged 65 and older. 

"Under the Immunisation Incentive Payments plan, GP clinics will be eligible for a one-off payment of $10 per enrolled patient on their books, provided they lift childhood immunisations, MMR vaccinations and flu jabs by five percentage points among eligible patients before June 30, 2024." 

Sunday's announcement comes as the latest in a series of policies by the party for its health plan if it does win the upcoming election. 

"We will continue to invest strongly in healthcare but what's much more important is we also deliver outcomes," Luxon said. 

"We are focused and obsessed on outcomes, that is what it has to be about." 

Sign up to receive news updates

By entering your email address, you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. Newshub and its affiliates may use your email address to provide updates/news, ads, and offers. To withdraw your consent or learn more about your rights, see the Privacy Policy.