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Government fails to learn health reform lessons

Rt Hon Wyatt Creech
Opposition Health Spokesperson

Sunday 6 February 2000

Government fails to learn health reform lessons

The Labour-Alliance Government has revealed it has failed to learn any of the lessons from the previous reforms to the health system, Opposition Health spokesperson Wyatt Creech said today.

"The Government is being presented with grave concerns about the speed and detail of the health reforms and the possible impact on health services, particularly Maori health services.

"Te Puni Kokiri, Treasury, Health Funding Authority and the Crown Company Monitoring Unit are raising major questions about the Government's health plans. But Cabinet is turning its back on that advice.

"We can all learn lessons from the previous reforms to the health system. In hindsight one of the concerns was the speed in which they were implemented. While the health system is running well now offering modern services and care, it has taken time to get it right.

"Contrary to the Health Minister's mistaken belief the profit motive from hospitals was removed several years ago, and the hospitals and health system are working co-operatively.

"The Government seems hell-bent on turning a blind eye to any criticisms of their plans, no matter how valid. "The new Government is being told they are making a major mistake imposing ill-thought through structural change, too rapidly, with little idea of the costs or implications. The officials criticism in this one Cabinet just scratches the surface, there will be more and I am seeking it under the Official Information Act.

"I share the views of many in the health system who are deeply concerned all the reforms will do is fragment and upset the health system, those working in it, and patients will suffer," Mr Creech said.


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