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Mayor Drags Minister To Hillmorton Disaster

14 January 2002

Health Minister Annette King has finally acknowledged the seriousness of the possible closure of Canterbury's Hillmorton Hospital after turning a deaf ear all last week, National's Associate Health spokesperson Dr Lynda Scott said today. "Congratulations to Christchurch Mayor Garry Moore for brokering a meeting between the Minister and other parties in his attempt to prevent the hospital closing. We hope Annette King will be responsible and step in to avert a closure.

"Unfortunately it took the Mayor calling a truce meeting to drag Annette King into taking responsibility for Hillmorton closing after her stony silence on the issue last week.

"We know of many patients and families very stressed about the dire future of South Island mental health services. National is listening to these people and advocating the continuation of current Hillmorton services on their behalf.

"Hillmorton's future is threatened because the Canterbury District Health Board is underfunded.

"Annette King didn't tell the public before the last election she would be closing this facility, leaving these patients high and dry. "Canterbury's entire health service is now under threat because the board is saying it will close all but acute services if next month's planned strike goes ahead. Annette King can't continue to turn a deaf ear - it is her job to provide health services.

"A strike wouldn't be necessary if the Minister had funded the board adequately at the outset," Dr Scott said.

Ends

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