11 Sep 2008

National focuses on productivity in health system

6:31 pm on 11 September 2008

Gaining greater productivity from rising health spending is a major priority, National Party leader John Key says.

The party has released the first of its health policy announcements, following a leak by the Government on Wednesday of National's broad health policy plans.

National pledges to retain planned increases in funding and to use the private sector more.

Mr Key says National would continue planned funding increases, taking total health spending to more than $14 billion by 2011.

The party says it will also focus on cutting health bureaucracy, lifting productivity, increasing the health workforce and boosting access to elective or non-urgent surgery through smarter use of the private sector.

Health Minister David Cunliffe says National's health policy is geared towards health sector providers rather than the public and its plans to get more non-urgent surgery done in the private sector will erode capacity in the public system.