Plain English - Health Minister Launches Internet Site

  • Bill English

Health Minister Bill English today launched an interactive web site on the internet which he wants to use to get feedback on health issues.

"There are lots of issues in health which I would be interested in getting people's responses on. The internet seems an ideal tool for getting quick responses from a wide range of people.

"There will of course continue to be more formal feedback systems on particular issues, but I like the idea of getting all sorts of people feeding in their views.

The first discussion topic is suggestions about how to reduce New Zealand's rising expenditure on pharmaceuticals.

"Every unnecessary dollar spent on drugs is a dollar less for hip operations, cataracts and other elective surgery. The taxpayer now spends more than $700 million a year on drugs and there is real concern that that could exceed $800 million in a year's time.

"Pharmac is implementing a number of strategies to stop the rate of increase, but there may be other ideas out there that haven't been tapped into," said Mr English.

It is planned to put a new discussion topic up every couple of weeks. The site address is