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National calls on Govt to intervene in strike

Dr Lynda Scott National Associate Health Spokesperson

29 November 2001

National calls on Govt to intervene in strike

The Canterbury health workers' strike could be avoided if the Government would stand up and take responsibility, National's Associate Health spokesperson Dr Lynda Scott said today.

"It is not good enough for Associate Health Minister Ruth Dyson to stand in Parliament today and distance herself and the Minister from this serious industrial issue which could cause harm to patients.

Dr Scott asked Ms Dyson if the Government was taking steps to ensure patient safety during the strike, and if she agreed with specialists who say that serious injury or death could occur as result from the strike.

"The Health Minister has been busy entertaining Health Ministers from the Commonwealth in Christchurch, avoiding any responsibility for the strike, rather than dealing with this extremely serious situation," Dr Scott said.

"When asked whether the huge district health board deficit, which has ballooned to $200 million in the past two years, was connected to the strike in Canterbury, Dyson admitted that funding was a critical part of the issue.

"The next question is why she and the Minister aren't prepared to do anything about it. Health workers are striking because they say it is the only way they can get their message of underfunding through to the Minister.

"If the Minister refuses to step in to avert the strike, she must tell New Zealanders what the Government is doing to prevent Canterbury patients coming to harm," Dr Scott said.

Ends


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