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Labour Breaks Commitment in Closure of Queen Mary

HEALTH CUTS HURTS CAMPAIGN
PO Box 13032
Christchurch

MEDIA RELEASE THURSDAY 6 NOVEMBER 2003

Labour Breaks Commitment in Closure of Queen Mary

“New Zealanders will be appalled at a Labour Government breaking its commitment to put patients before profits and allowing Hanmer Clinics, the former Queen Mary Hospital, to close,” Heather Carter of Health Cuts Hurt said today.

“The process has involved the former public hospital being privatised in 1996 then struggling to survive on a user pay basis,” said Heather Carter. “It is a central principle of dealing with patients with addictions that they do not have money to pay for their own cure. Yet the Government has expected this model to pay its own way and make a profit.”

“The community has just seen MPs get a 20% pay rise, with the Prime Minister getting over $60,000; Team NZ get $30m for a new yacht; and Air New Zealand and Tranzrail bailed out by the Government when they were unable to make it as privatised entities,” said Heather Carter. “Our group is calling on the Government to put patients before profit as they promised and bail out Queen Mary using some of the $4b surplus.”

“We note that a new Maori alcohol and drug service which includes a 12 bed is being set up with $500,000 of Government funding. This decision seems difficult to follow given the stop to funding of the Taha Maori programme at Queen Mary.”

“Our group which represents a cross-section of individuals including a number of ex-patients of Queen Mary will be demonstrating outside the Labour Party Conference in Christchurch at 4pm tomorrow (Friday 7th Nov.) We intend to remind the arriving MPs of their commitments on their credit card when they first came to power to put patients before profit.”

For more info:

Contact Heather Carter, Phone 03 351 4615 021 233 2331 Fax 03 377 4385

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