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Union To Campaign Hard To Save Queen Mary Hospital

Sunday 26 October 2003

Union To Campaign Hard To Save Queen Mary Hospital

“Our Union is calling on all groups trying to save Queen Mary from closure to protest at the Labour Party Conference two weekends from now to get the Government to reconsider its decision to stop funding our only national health facility for residential inpatient drug and alcohol,” said Janice Gemmell, Organiser of the National Union of Public Employees (NUPE) today. She was commenting on the decision by Hanmer Clinics to close its residential treatment programme in Hanmer Springs which is to be closed on 28 November with the loss of about 20 jobs.

“Helen Clark promised on the Labour credit card to put patients before profit,” said Janice Gemmell. “Yet they are letting Queen Mary close because the Government has doubts about its costs. It needs to consider the benefits of almost a hundred years of practical success with Queen Mary residential services for mental health issues like alcoholism and drug addiction .”

“It is our understanding that $3m a year would fully fund the Hospital. So the Government’s $30m contribution to Team New Zealand’s yachting campaign would fund a decade’s extension to Queen Mary’s life,” said Janice Gemmell.

“The Labour Party Conference is on in Christchurch from 7th to 9th November,” said Janice Gemmell. “Unions and groups like Health Cuts Hurt with an interest in keeping Queen Mary open will be there to let the Government know we want them to put patients before profits (and yachts) as they promised.”

ENDS

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