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Ministry Focuses On Budget Not Health Deficits

SUNDAY 28 MAY 2006

Focus On Budget Deficits Not Health Deficits By Ministry

“Health Cuts Hurt believes most Kiwis will be amazed that the Ministry of Health is claiming evidence that Boards are managing well given the latest financial deficit figures,” Chairperson of Health Cuts Hurt, Eleanor Carter said today.

She was commenting on a statement from the MOH’s John Hazeldine that the year to date combined results (third quarter) for the year to June 2006 show that DHBs actual deficits are better than planned by $20.5 million.

“Against criteria of a well funded health system that everyone can access regardless of their ability to pay, even the Minister of Health is only giving it 5.5 out of 10,” said Eleanor Carter. “The inability to treat the number of people on waiting lists is becoming a national disgrace.”

“The Ministry of Health wishes its population based funding model would satisfy Kiwis that they are being treated fairly health-wise and wishes that if the local Board could only keep within its bulk funded spending limits then all would be well,” said Eleanor Carter. “But the MOH model is unfair and arbitrary and is currently delivering cuts to some regions like Canterbury where $10 to $15m is having to be chopped from current services to meet the Ministry’s budget.”

Eleanor Carter said that it is the health deficits of New Zealanders that should be focussed on, not the financial ones. “Boards are openly admitting that people have to be sicker now to get an operation that previously. That is the real health deficit that the Minister needs to address. And yes, it will require more funding.”

ENDS

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