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Underfunding Behind Hospital Closure Proposals

Underfunding Behind Northland Hospital Closure Proposals

A proposal to close two Northland Hospitals because of the Government's underfunding shows the Government is prepared to break all its promises about delivering better health services to New Zealanders, Northland MP John Carter said today.

A Northand Health Efficiencies Summary, requested by Helen Clark's Labour Government, lists closing Dargaville and Bay of Islands hospitals as the only option to save it money of the 33 options it lists.

It suggests closing the 25-bed Bay of Islands Hospital consolidating it with Whangarei and closing the 17-bed Dargaville Hospital and consolidating it with Whangarei and Kaitaia hospitals.

"This is a betrayal to Northlanders by Helen Clark and Labour - the Government that raised taxes on the promise of better education and health services. Here they are closing hospitals again!," John Carter said.

"The report's finding that the only risk associated with closing the hospitals is 'public opinion' is appalling. If that's their attitude it is just disgraceful, National is more worried about people's health, not PR spin.

"For Northlanders this means travelling much greater distances to hospital. Because of Northland's huge distances people will be travelling for hours longer than they are now, to get to hospital services they should have access too.

"The people who use Bay of Islands and Dargaville Hospitals are significant distances away from Whangarei.

"The Government cannot sit idly by and allow these services to close simply because they are mismanaging the funding of health services," Mr Carter said.


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