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Health Camps Decision Deferred

Media release

24 October 2008

Health Camps Decision Deferred

The Board running the country’s seven Children’s Health Camps has today deferred a decision about the future of its service pending the outcome of an independent financial review.

Te Puna Whaiora Board Chairman Wayne Chapman says that while the organisation’s ``critical financial situation’’ has not changed, it has agreed to put on hold any decisions about cuts to the service until the findings of the review are available in four weeks time.

He says the agreement was made in good faith, following a meeting today with senior MSD officials who have provided an assurance that they are committed to developing a ``sustainable funding plan going forward’’.

``While the Board feels that some progress has been made, we remain disappointed that it has taken this long for our desperate situation to be acknowledged.

``For the past four years we have gone through a series of similar reviews of our operation and our cost structures. Consistently, these reviews have found that our service is effective, that we are badly under-funded, and that our costs are beyond dispute.

``Importantly, MSD has given us no assurance that our funding shortfall will be met at the completion of the review. However we remain hopeful that camp closures can be averted.

``While the review is carried out we remain under significant funding pressure.

``We simply cannot continue to run a service that is under-funded to this extent. To do so would be irresponsible, unsafe and would potentially put the entire service at risk. We cannot allow that to happen.

``We fully appreciate that we are on borrowed time and we hope government will take swift action soon to ensure the ongoing viability of the service,’’ says Mr Chapman.


ENDS

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