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Health law debacle sign of things to come

Wyatt Creech
National Health Spokesperson

7 December 2000

Health law debacle sign of things to come

The mess around the Government's handling of the health restructuring legislation does not bode well for the future of health services, National Health spokesperson Wyatt Creech said today.

"New Zealanders have been promised big improvements to health services from this restructuring. The Government's mishandling of the reforms to date does not give much hope that the changes will see the delivery of better health care.

"The health restructuring legislation has only just been passed, a week after the whole thing was meant to come into effect, and its implementation date has been delayed.

"We warned at the outset the health restructuring was going too far too fast, and it would hit problem after problem.

"And so far we've been right.

"The Health Minister missed deadlines for policy decisions, the changes - which included the Treaty of Waitangi clause - were poorly thought through and there was no where near enough time for people to have their say on the legislation.

"The select committee process was a complete shambles, people didn't have enough time to have their say, and the committee had to fast-track its consideration to meet impossible deadlines.

"We've seen the mismanagement of the reforms unravel in Parliament.

"All this gives National very little confidence that the restructuring will be implemented successfully and smoothly. What we'll get instead is more administration, money that should be going into health care being spent on more bureaucracy and people being diverted from delivering services into structural change.

"Everyone working in health is suffering reform fatigue - now the law is passed we'll see this getting worse."


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