22 Sep 2012

Health checks fall short of target

1:38 pm on 22 September 2012

The Government is falling significantly short of two of its health targets for the primary health care sector.

Associate health minister Jo Goodhew told a conference in Auckland on Saturday that 34% of patients who smoke are offered primary care help to quit the habit, compared to the target of 90%.

Only 46% of the population have been checked for heart problems and diabetes in the past five years compared to the goal of 75% by next year and 90% the following year.

Ms Goodhew said though the Government is doing well on many of its targets, the Health Minister is keen to see more progress with its goals on smoking and heart and diabetes checks.

Aging population

Ms Goodhew said the ageing population could cost the country billions of dollars a year if the government continues spending the way it is.

By 2025, the increased proportion of people aged over 65 would see health costs rise an extra $2 billion each year.

Mrs Goodhew said the demand for health services is placing greater and unaffordable pressures on the sector in an environment of tight fiscal constraint.

She told the conference 25% per cent of all Government spending is on health, and the sector has an important role to play in controlling the expenditure.