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Massive Surpluses Should Rescue Public Hospitals

Media Statement For Immediate Release,
Wednesday 10 October 2006

“massive surpluses should be used to rescue public hospitals”

“The government should use part of its massive fiscal surpluses to rescue our financially squeezed and devalued public hospitals,” said Mr Ian Powell, Executive Director of the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists, today. Mr Powell was commenting on the report that the government will have a record $11.5 billion surplus this year.

“District health boards are forced to deny patients specialist assessments and public hospital services by data cleansing their waiting lists. This is in response to government financial pressure. The government’s recent announcement on increased funding for elective public hospital services is welcome but only goes a little way to resolving this serious problem. Unfortunately the government has no coherent strategy to address unmet patient need.”

“The government’s financial squeezing of public hospitals is encouraging ideological elements in district health boards to privatise core public hospital services beginning with laboratories. The government’s encouragement of privatisation is an undisclosed policy U-turn.”

“District health boards are blaming government under-funding for them taking a miserly and adversarial position in collective agreement negotiations with health professionals, including senior doctors. This risks creating a workforce crisis in what was already a vulnerable situation.”

“The government’s performance is creating a crisis in public hospitals. It has the means to prevent this by sensible use of its massive financial surplus,” concluded Mr Powell.

Ian Powell



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