13 Oct 2008

Ministry criticised over key health programme

10:08 pm on 13 October 2008

The Ministry of Health has been told to improve oversight of one of its key health programmes.

The criticism comes from auditor-general Kevin Brady, who has reviewed the ministry's Primary Health Care Strategy.

The strategy established 80 Primary Health Organisations to divert care from hospitals to early intervention at GP level.

The programme cost at least $3.2 billion of public funds over seven years.

However, Mr Brady found it hard to assess how well it worked because the Ministry of Health's reporting was fragmented.

He says the ministry itself knew of gaps in its information, such as management of long-term diseases.

The ministry accepts the criticisms but says they concern paperwork, not performance.