by Selwyn Manning
An apology has been made by Auckland Healthcare to the Minister of Health for failing to tell him of plans to set up a luxury maternity unit at National Women's Hospital.
The hospital's new Cornwall unit is charging women $281 a night for luxury accommodation when giving birth. The move raised criticism for creating a precedence of two-tier care within the public hospital system.
Health Minister Wyatt Creek was initially angered by Auckland Healthcare's plans being made public without informing him, the Ministry of Health or the Health Funding Authority.
But Mr Creech now says he supports women having "choice" of the luxuries offered at the Cornwall unit: "New Zealand has a free quality maternity service. If women want to pay extra for these non-clinical services than that is their choice. I fully support giving women that choice."
He met with Auckland Healthcare chairperson, Richard Waddle, last night in his Beehive office. After the meeting Mr Creech said: "I have received categorical assurances that no public funding will cross-subsidise the non-clinical 'top-up extras' being offered in the Cornwall Suite.
"I have received equally as robust assurances that the level of clinical service will be the same as offered in the rest of the hospital," Mr Creech says.
For more refer to:
Health Minister says Assurances Given http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA9907/S00549.htm
HFA Identifies Key Points At Odds With Policy http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/AK9907/S00108.htm
Column - Luxury Unit a Two Fingered Gesture http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/AK9907/S00101.htm
Association Slams Luxury Unit