I hope the hospital waiting list delay task force will be “really brave”.
A patient advocate is hoping the government’s task force to deal with longstanding delays in hospital waiting lists will be “really brave” to tackle the problem.
Health Secretary Andrew Little on Wednesday introduced the taskforce, which will be led by Manukau Counties Chief Medical Officer Andrew Connolly.
Before the Covid-19 pandemic, around 8,000 people waited more than four months to access treatment. Around 27,000 people are now waiting.
Penny Tucker, who works with Patient Voice Aotearoa, isn’t convinced another taskforce will fix the problem.
READ MORE: A special taskforce has been unveiled to deal with delays on hospital waiting lists
“I don’t think it takes another task force, a drag-clad working group, to fix the problem. It just needs to be restored, which actually worked pretty well,” she told Breakfast.
For Tucker, these were the national health goals that ceased public reporting in August 2017. They measured DHBs’ performance on procedures including surgeries, cancer treatments, emergency room wait times, and childhood immunizations.
“I think this working group, taskforce, whatever they want to call themselves, needs to focus on how to get that focus back on patient-centred care.”
Tucker said waiting list delays “had gotten measurably worse than they needed to be,” and patients felt like they’d been “parked in a waiting room to die.”
“It shouldn’t be that hard and it shouldn’t be that discriminatory, and we shouldn’t have a two-tier healthcare system in New Zealand where some people literally feel like they’ve been chosen to die.”
Although she has “great confidence” in Connolly because he is an “extraordinary doctor,” Tucker said she was concerned about the taskforce’s timeliness.
“I hope the taskforce is really brave and I hope they write a report that is actually quite clinical about what the government is proposing and my fear is … if it’s too confrontational, I’m not sure if.” the government will do everything with it before they have disinfected and spun it. This is urgent for our patients,” Tucker said.
“I hope he does [Connolly] brings that level of pragmatism to this role because, ultimately, we have enough reports from this administration to have doorstops, and we’re pouring tens if not hundreds of millions of dollars into restoring, restructuring, restoring administration and centralizing our healthcare system.”
The taskforce is responsible for presenting a national plan by September.
“If a family member has been diagnosed with cancer or a rare disease — which is complicated enough to deal with — for someone to say, ‘Well, maybe in September we’ll do a report and then it’ll go through complicated MOH processes and then we’ We We’re going to work out what to do with it, and then we’ll work out how we’re going to present it, and then maybe we’ll work out what we’re going to do in a couple of months. “You could be dead by then,” Tucker exclaimed.
“In our view, there is actually a fairly quick fix that doesn’t require a lot of resources.”
In response to Tucker, Connolly acknowledged that we have a “major challenge” ahead, noting that it’s a necessary one “and one we’re relentlessly tackling.”
He said because of the government’s healthcare reforms, “we have an opportunity to look at cross-border solutions so that these artificial barriers are removed.”
Connolly urged people to judge the taskforce on their progress over the coming months.