[Sitting date: 18 July 2012. Volume:681;Page:3620. Text is incorporated into the Bound Volume.]
Dr JIAN YANG (National) to the
Minister of Health: Has he received the latest OECD report on public health spending trends over the past decade, and how does New Zealand compare with the other 27 countries surveyed?
Hon TONY RYALL (Minister of Health)
: I have seen the latest OECD report, which shows that from 2000 to 2009, before the impact of the world economic crisis, the OECD real average growth in health spending was nearly 5 percent, and New
Zealand’s was 6 percent. With the financial crisis hitting the world in the 2009-10 year, the average increase in health spending for the OECD countries fell to zero, with many, including Norway, Ireland, Greece, and Denmark, actually cutting their public health spending. Despite the tight times, this Government has been determined to protect and grow our public health service, and, as a result, in the 2009-10 year, the latest year for which comparative data is available, I am pleased to advise that in total contrast to this dramatic reduction in average OECD spending, New Zealand had a 3.4 percent increase in real health spending—the third-highest of the 27 countries.
Dr Jian Yang: What does the OECD say about improved services New Zealand patients have got from the increased funding, even though the funding increases are lower than during the boom times?
Hon TONY RYALL: Across the OECD, reductions in health spending have often translated into reductions in services for patients. Despite the tough economic times and the slowing of the rate of increase in health spending, according to the latest OECD data New Zealand has had one of the largest increases in the number of patients being cared for or getting operations in our public hospitals. This stands in contrast to the position under the previous Government, which doubled the health budget, and in real terms fewer people got operations.