Considering ethnicity during the prioritisation of surgical waitlists
19 June 2023
The New Zealand Society of Anaesthetists (NZSA) supports the requirements to consider a patient’s ethnicity during the prioritisation of surgical waitlists.
“This is an attempt to try and achieve more equity, rather than give any advantages,” says NZSA President, Dr Morgan Edwards.
“Many Māori patients are likely to have experienced health inequalities before even reaching surgical waitlists. The barriers they face include GP access, referral for a first specialist assessment, attending hospital appointments, and poorer underlying health and other medical conditions that can’t be stabilised before being waitlisted for surgery. Once reaching the surgical waitlist Māori patients are also likely to be later in their disease journey and face longer wait times as well as further hurdles to physically accessing care.”
The Reset and Restore Plan released late last year states: ‘health equity is achieved when health outcomes are equitable to that achieved for others’.
“At a basic fundamental level, when a Māori patient hits that surgical waitlist they’re already far behind their non-Māori counterparts. This is a small step to address that inequity.” Says Dr Edwards, “I have heard from colleagues across the motu how this is one small, positive, thing we can do to try and help close the equity gap in healthcare. As the doctors who support and care for patients throughout their surgical journey, we are in support of it.”
See more in the media:
One News: PM defends use of equity system for surgery prioritisation
NZ Herald: National Party health spokesman Dr Shane Reti slams new surgery ranking policy based on race
Stuff: New ranking system prioritising patients on ethnicity to improve equity, experts say