Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Bearing fruit

One of Labour's most significant - and most invisible - policy changes has been a rollback of the 90's health policies of targetting in favour of a return to universal service. The focus has been on primary health, on the basis that detection and prevention of problems by GPs stops people showing up at A&E needing serious treatment (or worse, not, and dying), and the vehicle has been Primary Health Organisations (PHOs), groups of local GPs. The rollback has been gradual, first offering free doctor's visits to children, then pensioners, then subsidies to various cohorts of adults - and now, it finally seems to be bearing fruit. Hospitals in South Auckland have recorded a significant and sustained drop in admissions, which is being at least partly attributed to better primary healthcare.

National, meanwhile, wants to axe the entire scheme and go back to targetting...