The headline results of the 2020 and fifth successive annual New Zealanders for Health Research public opinion poll are available on their website here.
The poll was undertaken in late May, a few days after both Budget day and the commencement of level 2 lockdown, and about a month before the release of the final report of the Health and Disability System Review. To ensure comparability with previous years’ Roy Morgan polls this year’s poll was based on a representative sample of 1000 adult New Zealanders. Selected key results are:
- Improving hospitals and the health care system was once again the top ranking government priority, with more funding for health and medical research coming in at tenth out of 27 issues.
- Three quarters agreed that the government should invest more funding in health research, and about a third said they’d be more likely to vote for a political party which promised to increase the government’s health research budget
- Research to make our health system more effective and efficient was the highest ranked aspect of health research, followed by research on finding vaccines for new infectious diseases such as Covid 19, and research into antibiotic resistance to infectious diseases
- Support for vaccinations as a safe and effective way for keeping people healthy has softened slightly, although 78% had enough faith to agree that a vaccination will be a safe and effective way of preventing people from catching Covid 19
- Just under 50% said that they were very well or somewhat well informed about health and medical research in New Zealand
- A third of the sample said that they currently donate to health research, down from 50% in 2016
- Nearly two thirds said that participating in clinical trials for new medicines is as important as donating blood
- Just over half said they’d be willing to share personal health information to track illness and disability and causes, down from nearly three quarters in 2019. (We’ve suggested to the Ministry of Health that they consider this result as they develop messaging encouraging New Zealanders to use Covid 19 contact tracing technology).
The NZHR concludes "Despite the high value that New Zealanders place on health research it remains chronically underfunded and systemically disconnected from the wider health system. Which is why we’ve headlined this year’s report “health research system fails the team of 5 million”.