Maternity, diabetes and mental health boost in National’s plan

The New Zealand National Party

Longer postnatal stays for the mothers of new babies, free Continuous Glucose Monitors for children with Type 1 diabetes, and more training places for psychiatrists and clinical psychologists will help get the health system delivering for New Zealanders, National’s Health spokesperson Dr Shane Reti and Mental Health spokesperson Matt Doocey say.

“National’s health policy is not about ideology or bureaucracy, but about practical measures that will improve the way the health system works,” Dr Reti says.

“The Government will this year spend $29.7 billion on health, yet outcomes in the health system have gone backwards for six years under Labour with longer wait times, plunging immunisation rates, and an exhausted health workforce.

“I am dismayed by the reports I regularly receive from health workers and patients about their experiences.

“The health system can work so much better than it does. It has dedicated, professional staff who need a government that knows how to get things done.

“A National government will deliver a strong economy so that we can invest in the public services that New Zealanders deserve, like a world class health system with lower waiting times and better maternal services.

“Many women do not realise they are already entitled to a 48-hour stay in a post-natal facility after the birth of their baby, and at times feel pressured to leave early.

“National will invest an additional $19 million a year to extend free postnatal stays to three days and ring-fence this funding to ensure those who want it, receive their full entitlement.

“This comes on top of our commitment to make student loan repayments up to $4500 a year for midwives and nurses who stay working in their profession after graduation, to help boost the health workforce. These measures will do more to get mothers, their babies and their families off to a good start.

“As part of our health policy, National will also provide free Continuous Glucose Monitors to children and adolescents under the age of 18 with Type 1 diabetes.

“There are an estimated 15,000 to 25,000 people in New Zealand with the condition, which is typically diagnosed in childhood or adolescence. It is a devastating diagnosis for a family, but CGMs have revolutionised diabetes management, reducing the risk of long-term complications.

“National will allocate $5.2 million a year to give kids free access to this modern technology to manage their diabetes and, at the same time, provide savings worth up to $50 a week for a family with a diabetic child.”

“A third announcement today builds on National’s commitments to grow the health workforce to better meet New Zealanders’ needs,” Mr Doocey says. “To help meet the acute shortage of mental health professionals, National will train more psychiatrists by increasing the number of psychiatric registrar places to 50 a year on average (up from around 37) and double the number of clinical psychologists being trained each year from 40 to 80 over the next four years.

“This will be a significant investment into the mental health workforce which has been forgotten about by this Labour Government.”

Key parts of National’s health policy include:

  • Setting health targets to deliver better, faster and more reliable healthcare, including faster cancer treatment, improved immunisations and shorter stays in emergency departments.
  • Funding 13 new cancer treatments and speeding up approvals of new medicines.
  • Improving cancer management for breast, ovarian, bowel, and prostate cancer.
  • Extending free postnatal stays for all mothers of new-born babies to three days.
  • Providing free continuous glucose monitors to type 1 diabetics aged under 18.
  • Delivering more nurses, midwives, doctors, psychiatrists and psychologists to reduce wait times and improve health outcomes.
  • Funding community organisations like Gumboot Friday to increase access to mental health services.

“These changes are all worthwhile and will make a difference to New Zealanders in their times of need,” Dr Reti says.

“Only a National-led government will deliver these policies. A party vote for National is a vote for change, and a vote for a Government that will help New Zealanders get ahead, and get our country back on track.”

Find National’s plan for Better Heath Outcomes here

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