2023 | Volume 24 | Issue 4

NZ health

Media in Aotearoa New Zealand zeroed in on surgeons mid-June as a controversial new patient prioritisation tool hit the headlines.

In addition to clinical priority, the tool, developed by Te Whatu Ora – Health New Zealand, takes other patient metrics into account including time spent on the wait list, geographic location, ethnicity and deprivation level. It is being trialled in Auckland and Northland hospitals with the intention it will be rolled out nationwide over time.

The ethnicity element of the tool has divided opinion. There were concerns Māori and Pacific Island patients would ‘leapfrog’ up the wait list, pushing up wait times for other ethnicities. Others said clinical priority should be the only consideration and surgeons are best placed to make decisions around patient prioritisation.

While not being involved in developing the equity adjustor tool, RACS is largely supportive of it. The College’s position is that it is one piece of the puzzle to improve health equity.

Immediate past-Chair of the Indigenous Health Committee, Dr Maxine Ronald, explains the health inequities issues in Aotearoa New Zealand. Read the media release here.