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Minister Fudges Over Support For Starship Hospital

Health Minister Annette King must assure the public and medical staff her three-year funding package announced in December will be enough to maintain current services and volumes in the Auckland area, National Associate Health Spokesperson Dr Paul Hutchison said today.

"The Minister needs to answer why there are possible service cuts at Starship Children's Hospital, and doubts about Auckland's proposed Cardiac and Intensive Care Units, when she promised better health services.

"Today in Parliament Annette King avoided responsibility for the health cuts outlined in media reports. The Auckland District Health Board is plainly raising this issue in an effort to warn the public that there will be reduced services.

"Annette King only agreed to extra funding for South Island cardiac services when the issue became too politically hot for her to handle. How long can she ignore these problems in Auckland health?

"The Minister must take responsibility, especially when the Auckland DHB provides specialist tertiary services to patients all over New Zealand.

"It is despairing that only two and a half years ago this board had a surplus of $2.2 million. Now the Auckland District Health Board is facing a $72 million deficit this year. Auckland's health services, including those to our most vulnerable - children and the elderly - are under threat.

"Annette King has created a mess in health and the Government must take responsibility for it," Dr Hutchison said.


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