Report finds our health system rates well internationally

10 Dec 2015 | Health Quality Intelligence

A new report shows New Zealand’s health and disability system rates well internationally and is good value for money. However, it has the potential to improve further, particularly in areas of equity and safety.

The Health Quality & Safety Commission’s report – A window on the quality of New Zealand’s health care – draws from data sets that measure a range of areas including:

  • experiences patients have in our public hospitals
  • adverse events in public hospitals, such as falls and infections
  • mortality rates
  • equity
  • years of life lost, based on expected years of life.

The report shows New Zealand’s health and disability system is as good as, or better than the health systems in many similar developed countries. It gives us some answers to the question ‘How good is New Zealand’s health care?’ and stimulates debate about the meaning and intepretation of the data presented.

It is a ‘snapshot’ into the quality of our health care, using previously published, reliable, validated data. It shows New Zealand’s health system is relatively inexpensive compared with similar countries and is effective in helping people to live longer and healthier lives.

The view through the ‘window’ will change over time as new data is added and interpretations change.

Key findings

  • A new national patient experience survey for inpatients shows positive results compared with jurisdictions such as England, Sweden and Canada, with patients generally having a good experience in hospital, and feeling they are treated with dignity, respect, kindness and compassion.
  • We have addressed inequity in some targeted areas – notably immunisation, in which large disparities between Māori and non-Māori child vaccination rates have been almost eliminated in five years.
  • Our health system is relatively inexpensive compared with similar countries – 18th highest of 34 OECD countries in per capita expenditure on health care. Less is spent than in nearly all comparable English-speaking and northern-European countries. This combined with results similar or better to these countries for most quality measures suggests a system which provides good value for money.
  • Disability adjusted life years lost (years of life lost and disabled based on expected years of healthy life) per 100,000 population in New Zealand is seventh lowest of those OECD nations measured by the World Health Organization – similar to Australia and lower than most western European countries, the US and Canada. This shows our health system is effective in helping people to live longer and healthier lives.

Download a copy of the report below.

Last updated 10/12/2015