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Choosing Wisely campaign launched in New Zealand

Health Quality & Safety Commission
16 December 2016

On Wednesday 7 December a number of health sector leaders got together to launch the Choosing Wisely campaign New Zealand.

Council of Medical Colleges chief executive Dr Derek Sherwood, Health Quality & Safety Commission chief executive Dr Janice Wilson and Consumer chief executive Sue Chetwin were among speakers at the launch event, held in Wellington.

Choosing Wisely focuses on reducing the number of unnecessary tests, treatments and procedures carried out on patients.

It is based on international evidence, and similar campaigns are well-entrenched in countries like Australia, Canada and England.

The campaign is being run by the Council of Medical Colleges, in partnership with the Health Quality & Safety Commission and Consumer. A number of other medical organisations are supporting the campaign.

A survey of New Zealand doctors by the Council of Medical Colleges found half thought the provision of unnecessary tests, procedures or treatments was a serious or somewhat serious issue.

The Council of Medical Colleges also worked with Consumer to survey consumers about unnecessary tests, treatment and procedures.

The survey found when they visited a doctor, 56 percent of respondents generally expected the doctor to provide a prescription or send them for a test and 41 percent of these agreed some tests or treatments which are carried out do not benefit the patient in any meaningful way. Nearly one in five felt their doctor had recommended a test or treatment to them which wasn’t necessary.

Choosing Wisely encourages patients to ask their health professionals these four questions:

  • Do I really need to have this test treatment or procedure?
  • What are the risks?
  • Are there simpler, safer options?
  • What happens if I do nothing?

For more information visit www.choosingwisely.org.nz.