Democracy Action strongly opposes the decisions of District Health Boards to prioritise Maori and Pacific patients on elective surgery waiting lists. We believe priority should be based on clinical urgency and the time a patient has waited, not their race. When someone is bumped up on a list, someone else must be moved down.
Capital and Coast and Hutt Valley DHBs - covering the Wellington region – introduced a policy of giving Māori and Pasifika patients priority in surgical scheduling processes.
The Health Boards have decided that a patient's ethnicity will be now considered for specialist treatments, along with their level of clinical urgency and the number of days they have been on an elective surgery waitlist.
More DHBs are considering doing the same. Eight others are considering or have left the door open to similar changes, permanently or while surgery backlogs are cleared after Covid-19 restrictions. They are: Northland, Nelson Marlborough, Taranaki, Wairarapa, Southern, Bay of Plenty, Mid-Central and Auckland.