5 May 2022
Significant opportunity missed in Minister’s taskforce
Patients are going to miss out on healthcare options if allied health services continue to be undervalued.
Health Minister Andrew Little yesterday announced a taskforce of medical professionals to work on a national plan for planned-care but there are no allied health representatives at the table.
Physiotherapy New Zealand CEO and co-Chair of Allied Health New Zealand Sandra Kirby is extremely disappointed and frustrated that once again, the expertise of health professionals like physiotherapists, chiropractors and dieticians is undervalued when it comes to the significant contribution they can make for patients.
“Not only will patients miss out, but it will ultimately result in greater health care costs with more people needing hospital care for conditions which might have been effectively managed earlier on. It’s good to hear Minister Little acknowledge the benefits of physiotherapy, but it is most concerning that no allied health voice is on the taskforce developing the national plan for planned-care.
“The Minister refers to the need for “one public health system” and a “truly nationwide approach” which we endorse however it won’t be truly effective unless allied health workers are fully integrated into the system,” said Sandra Kirby.
The level of frustration being felt by allied health workers is why those working in DHBs will work to rule from 9 May and hold a 24-hour strike on May 16.
“We have been calling on the government for a long time now to make significant changes to the ways these services are accessed and funded, and the current health reforms provide the perfect opportunity to do so.
“We feel very strongly that the government is missing an opportunity to seriously reform the way we deliver health services. For example, fully funding physiotherapy will enable more people to access care.
“If the Minister is truly serious about reducing wait lists, then he needs to not only talk about allied health, but include allied health at the table,” said Sandra Kirby.
Page updated May 2022