Ryall defends 'slimmed down' health targets

Minister of Health Tony Ryall
Minister of Health Tony Ryall
Health Minister Tony Ryall is defending his "slimmed down" set of targets for district health boards and says he inherited a system bogged down by bureaucracy.

Mr Ryall has announced three hospital targets and three preventative programme targets.

Hospitals must try to cut emergency department waiting times, deliver faster treatment for cancer patients and carry out more elective surgery.

The priority preventative programmes are immunisation, smoking and diabetes.

Labour's health spokeswoman, Ruth Dyson, said it seemed inevitable that services would suffer.

"The minister clearly does not believe mental health services, improving the oral health of our children and improving family nutrition are important," she said.

"His statement conveniently avoids mentioning the names of services that DHBs will no longer be required to target."

Mr Ryall said the previous government left him with 13 health priorities, 61 objectives, 10 health targets measured through 18 indicators, 25 other indicators of DHB performance and four hospital benchmark indicators assessed through 15 measures.

"We've had far too many indicators and committees and targets for the last nine years," he said.

"This is part of the Government's plan to reduce administrative monitoring and reporting requirements on DHBs by a third."

Mr Ryall said the new set of targets did not mean areas like mental health were being ignored.

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