Hamish Rutherford from NZME talks to Gary Heath from Sequre – one of the panellists taking part in HealthCentral ChalkTalks’ panel discussion on the “Future of New Zealand’s Healthcare – how do we achieve a more productive, sustainable and equitable health system.”

Hamish: Gary how do you help DHB’s reduce waiting lists?

Gary Heath: We simply help out DHB’s by recognising the fact that DHB’s are over budget and patient waiting lists are increasing month in month out, in which case DHB’s have got options. They can outsource which can be expensive. Or they can lose control of their patient lists via IDF to another DHB. Or of course they can try and get their own staff to come in and work at weekends as well. Where we come in is, we say “look you’ve got these clinics and theatres which are being funded for already but they’re just simply left empty at weekends…” So we insource the medical teams to perform clinics or theatres using their facilities after hours.

Hamish: Is this fixing a problem with the health system?

Gary Heath: Yes! I can quote DHB’s where, for example within ophthalmology, in one particular DHB when we were approached they were some 5,000 clinics behind – where the patients were in danger of stepping outside the Ministry of Health targets in terms of waiting times. As of a month ago I was informed that they were down to 23 clinics behind. Indeed we’ve managed to continue a contract for the third year running with them. The local media have been able to present that story to the local public as well.

Hamish: Is this a new model?

Gary Heath: New Zealand yes, we’re the only company doing it outright. We’ve been doing this now for three years in February. However countries like the UK I think they’ve been doing it for 13 years, Brazil I think they’ve been doing it for something like 5 years now. But for NZ yes it is new.

Hamish: Where do you get your staff from?

Gary Heath: All over New Zealand. They’re all registered with MCNZ. They come from both private and public. We even have some those approaching retirement age, it’s another income option for them to say hey I can earn some money, I can just give up my weekends and come in and help out and in that way extend their careers if you like.

Hamish: How widely are you used throughout New Zealand?

Gary Heath: Thus far we are operating in 11 DHB’s and I anticipate another two should be on board within the next month or so.

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