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Neuro-services Unit Important Step For Starship

Neuro-services unit important step towards Starship becoming a comprehensive paediatric hospital

Prime Minister Helen Clark today officially opened the new neuro-services unit at Starship Children's Hospital.

"The opening of the neuro-services unit is another important step toward Starship becoming a comprehensive paediatric hospital and bringing more services together under one roof.

"The unit is the first facility in New Zealand designed and staffed to cater for child neurological and neurosurgical needs.

"It will drastically reduce the number of times children needing these services have to be transferred between Auckland Hospital, where major surgery is performed, and the Starship.

"Children recover much better when around people of their own age-group in an environment specially set up to cater for them. The benefits to both the children and their families are obvious.

"Improving the health of the nation's children is a major priority for the coalition government, and one which must encompass a range of social and economic policies.

"Because ill health in our children is so often a result of social and economic conditions – in short, poverty – the problems needs to be tackled on various fronts - by providing better housing, by raising employment levels, and removing barriers to higher education and skills training.

"More directly, good public health policies, with an emphasis on prevention and primary heath care, will help to reduce overall hospital admissions. Boosting immunisation rates is crucial. So is lowering smoking rates among the adult population.

"We have already moved swiftly to initiate negotiations with Plunket to restore the 24-hour helpline cut by the previous government.

"Labour's health strategy, the first part of which will be released by health minister Annette King within the next couple of weeks, will encompass these and other measures," Helen Clark said.

ends

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