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Budget Continues Underfunding Model For Hospitals

MEDIA RELEASE SUNDAY 21 MAY 2006
Eleanor Carter, Spokesperson Health Cuts Hurt Inc

BUDGET CONTINUES UNDERFUNDING MODEL FOR HOSPITALS

“The Government’s pumped up claims of an extra $750m of health funding will only increase the frustration of the roughly 20,000 patients who have been cut from waiting lists in 2006,” Chairperson of Health Cuts Hurt, Eleanor Carter said today. She was commenting on last week’s Budget and reaction to it from health groups which said it would have little impact on the waiting lists problem.

“Health Cuts Hurt was set up because 10,000 Cantabrians were slashed from waiting list in 2003 due to underfunding from the Population Based Funding formula,” said Eleanor Carter. “Waiting lists and the funding model have now become the number one political problem for the Government nationwide.”

“The Government needs to be honest and say that at least $500m of the $750m increase is merely needed to retain services at exactly the same level as in 2005,” said Eleanor Carter. “Cost increases in the health sector are running higher than in other sectors partly because it is a 24/7 operation and for example, higher penal rates on statutory holidays now cost hospitals considerably more.”

Eleanor Carter said that given that a significant amount of the $750m of ‘new’ money was also directed to specific programmes in primary care, obesity and aged care, there is real concern within the Health Sector that there will have to be further actual cuts to elective surgery and specialist assessment. “Ironically extra access to GPs only increases the frustration. The Government needs to now face up and deal with this issue - which patently the Budget failed to do.”

ENDS

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