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WDHS claims ridiculous, says Organiser

PSA Press Release

Attention: Health reporters October 23, 2003

WDHS claims ridiculous, says Organiser

Claims by Waitaki District Health Services (WDHS) chairwoman, Mrs Ele Ludemann, that he had a poor understanding of the situation regarding Oamaru Hospital were quite wrong, PSA Organiser Mark Ryan said today.

Union members at the hospital are presently striking in support of an increase to attain parity with the rest of the public sector.

Mark Ryan said that Oamaru Hospital was a council-owned company and was the only one of its kind in the country.

“Its funding situation is therefore different to that of a district health board. The Waitaki District Council cannot expect to own its own hospital for the provision of health services primarily to its ratepayers and to then wash its hands of any responsibility for adequately funding its operations.”

“No-one disputes that the government is the principal funder through the Otago District Health Board. However, that funding is insufficient and, with claims by ODHB chief executive Mr Brian Rousseau of a $32 million per year funding cut, attempts to garner more money from that source are little more than futile.”

Mark Ryan said that if the Board of WDHS was committed to the proper funding of the hospital and its services, then the only alternative was to bring its owner to the table to hammer out a solution that works for ratepayers and union members.

“The Waitaki District Council clearly do not want to get involved in the current dispute. If it maintains this position, then it is abrogating its stewardship of an important North Otago asset and will be failing to protect local health services.”

[ends]

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