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Opposition Parties Barking Up Wrong Health Tree

ATTENTION: HEALTH REPORTER NO. OF PAGES: 1

MEDIA STATEMENT FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE,
TUESDAY 18 JANUARY 2005
Opposition Parties Barking Up Wrong Health Tree

''Opposition parties ACT and National are barking up the wrong health tree with their proposal to contract out public hospital work to the private sector,'' said Mr Ian Powell, Executive Director of the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists, today.

“The main reason why too many people are waiting for public hospital treatment is workforce shortages, including doctors and nurses. But the private sector faces a similar difficulty and it does not have a large reserve army of unemployed doctors available to do much extra work. At best it could provide limited short-term assistance around the margins.”

“The most effective solution rests with more effective workforce planning and recruitment strategies. Public hospitals are now better placed to overcome this challenge with the recent successful negotiation of more competitive national collective agreements for senior doctors and nurses.”

“In general contracting out to private hospitals is more expensive, involves more bureaucracy and creates unnecessary fragmentation. We should not forget that contracting out was attempted in the 1990s and failed abysmally.”

“ACT’s health spokesperson Heather Roy is to be commended for asking challenging, but largely unanswered, questions about delays in receiving treatment and senior doctors would share her concern. But her solution is the wrong one,” concluded Mr Powell.


Ian Powell
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

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