NZ Doctor Online
An expert taskforce should be established to find solutions to
the economic issues in healthcare affecting older New Zealanders, a
retirement policy researcher says.
The "grey tsunami" is very real and it needs focused attention,
rather than the piecemeal approach New Zealand currently has,
University of Auckland retirement policy associate professor Susan
St John says.
"It seems like the politicians underestimate the enormity of
this issue," Dr St John told New Zealand Doctor.
Dr St John spoke at last night's University of Auckland
presentation series, "The Ballot Box", which this week focused on
She says middle-income New Zealanders seem to underestimate how
long they will live, with some spending most of their savings
earlier in their retirement.
This adds pressure to the healthcare system, considering the
more expensive long-term health treatments occur later in life, she
Currently, those aged 65 and above account for 33 per cent of
the total crown health expenditure, although they comprise only
13.9 per cent of the total population.
Dr St John expects these numbers will increase further in the
next 15 to 20 years, and the burden of care will be passed on to
the children and grandchildren.