Māori experience of anaesthesia in the perioperative setting: A qualitative assessment

Māori experience of anaesthesia in the perioperative setting: A qualitative assessment


CIA: Dr Courtney Thomas

In New Zealand the Treaty of Waitangi provides a basis from which government policy, and more recently ANZCA’s Indigenous Health Strategy, can be founded. There lies a commitment to work with Māori and strive for equitable outcomes.

Project summary

Māori are the indigenous people of New Zealand and make up 14.9 per cent of the national population. They continue to experience disparities in access to care and poorer health outcomes. Whilst there have been some significant gains made in Māori Health, Māori still have a much lower life expectancy and experience higher rates of socioeconomic deprivation, disability and disease. Māori mortality rates are higher across nearly all age groups. This has been most recently highlighted in the latest report from the Postoperative Mortality Review Committee (POMRC) in 2017.

The POMRC found that Maori living in the most deprived areas, who had an elective admission with general anaesthesia, had a much higher 30-day perioperative mortality rate than New Zealand Europeans. The Māori Caucus, convened by the New Zealand Health and Safety Quality Commission included investigation of Maori patients’ experiences of care in the pre-operative setting among its recommendations for future research. The role for both quantitative and qualitative research was proposed.

The Chief Investigator is both a Māori Doctor and Fellow of ANZCA with an ongoing commitment to promoting and advocating for Māori Health. Through her PhD, she aims to identify facilitators of and barriers to engagement with Māori patients in the perioperative setting and perform a qualitative assessment of their experience to identify what is being done well and what could be improved.

It is anticipated that this information may be utilised to inform practice, to improve engagement with Māori patients and contribute towards developing resources to assist anaesthetists in delivering culturally safe care for Māori patients in New Zealand.

Chief investigators

Dr Courtney Thomas, Christchurch Public Hospital, Professor Jennifer Weller, The University of Auckland, New Zealand.


The project was awarded $A46,550 (including scholarship) through the ANZCA research grants program for 2022.   

Last updated 16:36 1.12.2022