3 Oct 2023

National promises post-natal hospital stays, diabetes monitors, mental health training boost

12:44 pm on 3 October 2023

National is promising longer after-birth hospital stays for mothers, free glucose monitors for children with type-1 diabetes and more psychiatrist and psychologist training places.

The party's health spokesperson, Shane Reti, and leader Christopher Luxon and Mental Health spokesperson Matt Doocey announced the policy on Tuesday morning in Rolleston, saying they were practical ways to improve the health system that were "not about ideology or bureaucracy".

It would include:

  • $19 million a year for extending after-birth hospital stays to three days - an extra 24 hours - with the funding ringfenced "to ensure those who want it, receive their full entitlement"
  • $5.2m a year to provide free Continuous Glucose Monitors to under-18s with type 1 diabetes
  • Increase the number of psychiatric registrar places to 50 a year on average (up from about 37) and double the number of clinical psychologists being trained each year from 40 to 80 over the next four years

Reti said many women did not realise they were already entitled to a 48-hour hospital stay after giving birth, and sometimes felt pressured to leave early.

The glucose monitors would save families with a diabetic child up to $50 a week, he said.

"The government will this year spend $29.7 billion on health, yet outcomes in the health system have gone backwards for six years under Labour with longer wait times, plunging immunisation rates, and an exhausted health workforce," Reti said.

"I am dismayed by the reports I regularly receive from health workers and patients about their experiences."

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs