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NZ health care system: 4th for performance & 8th for equity

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The latest rankings of health care systems of 11 wealthy countries by the Commonwealth Fund puts New Zealand fourth for performance and 8th for equity.

The latest International Comparisons report by the Commonwealth Fund, a US-based private foundation , found New Zealand performed well on measures of care process and administrative efficiency, but below the 11-country average on health care outcomes.

The top ranked countries overall across the five criteria were the United Kingdom, Australia  the Netherlands and then New Zealand.  At the tail end was US coming 11th after Canada (9th) and France (10th).

New Zealand’s highest ranking was second in administrative efficiency which was measured by looking at barriers to care like availability of medical records and test results and the amount of time and effort clinicians and patients spend on paperwork.  Our health system was ranked third for care process which looked at the areas of preventative care (like health promotion and screening), safe care, co-ordinated care and patient-centred care.

Where New Zealand did not perform well in the Fund report’s analysis was access where we were ranked seventh – just on the average for the 11 countries – which looked at affordability (including avoiding medical care or dental care because of cost) and timeliness (including after-hour care and access to elective surgery). The lowest ranking for New Zealand’s health care system was in the areas of equity and health care outcomes where it came eighth.

The equity measurements compare performance of higher and lower-income individuals and the health care outcomes criteria include looking at population health outcomes (like chronic disease, preventable deaths under 75 and mortality rates after a stroke, heart attack or cancer diagnosis).

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