By: Major Burdock | 06-20-2023 | Opinion, Studio
Photo credit: Sergei Babenko |

New Zealand ‘Equity Adjustor Score’ Asks Surgeons to Prioritize Non-White Patients

Surgeons in Auckland, New Zealand, are expressing discomfort with a new policy that requires them to consider the ethnicity of their patients as a factor when scheduling surgeries.

Specifically, Maori and Pacific Islander patients are given priority consideration to compensate for historic inequality in access to health care.

Te Whatu Ora – Health New Zealand, a national public health agency established in July 2022 to consolidate numerous regional health boards, introduced an “Equity Adjustor Score” that sets five factors to be considered in surgery priority lists.

The five factors are clinical priority, time already spent on wait lists, if the patient lives in a geographically isolated area, economic deprivation, and ethnicity. The highest scores for ethnicity are given to Maori and Pacific Island (or “Pasifika”) peoples.

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