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Papers reveal Govt. health reform shambles

Wyatt Creech
National Health Spokesperson
Tuesday 1 August 2000

Nineteen health restructuring Cabinet papers dumped by the Government tonight reveal warnings of major risks around the Government's plans to set up District Health Boards, National's Health spokesperson Wyatt Creech said today.

"The Government's being warned about the "lost knowledge and experience" from the health sector as people re-apply for jobs and transfer.

"The tight time-frames for putting the health reforms in place are also raising alarm bells. Then there are the "risks to business as usual" as hospital staff and officials get tied up in the change process.

"These are all things National has been expressing concern about for months - but the Government is ramming through the changes regardless.

"Other risks in the papers include future policy uncertainty for hospitals in an environment that still hasn't been spelt out. And there are problems with re-jigging current health service contracts to District Health Board districts.

"These two things have a very real impact on services.

"The Government is also being told of major risks around the appointment of CEOs of the new District Health Boards.

"There is very little public understanding of the health reforms. The Government seems to want to keep the public in the dark, dumping reams of paper in the evening the day the ERB changes are unveiled and the House goes into urgency.

"The whole restructuring is a shambles. After repeated delays the legislation is about to be introduced despite big gaps and uncertainties.

"On the eve of the introduction of the legislation the Minister still refuses to release any detailed costings of the restructuring despite repeated references to them in today's Cabinet papers."

Ends

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