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Health Services Should Be Provided On Need

28 March 2002

Health Services Should Be Provided On Basis Of Need Not Race

Health services should be provided on the basis of need rather than the basis of race, National Associate Health Spokesperson Dr Paul Hutchison said today.

"The proposal for a special Maori ward at Middlemore Hospital would set a very difficult precedent, particularly in any area where there are other large Polynesian groups with severe health needs.

"When the Treaty of Waitangi was discussed at the hearing of submissions on the New Zealand Health and Disability Bill last year, the then Race Relations Conciliator Rhajin Prasad made the strong point that health provision should be according to need and not according to race.

"Such a dedicated ward could cause very difficult situations in hospitals. For instance would non-Maori be turned away if other wards were full? There is no doubt that all our hospitals should do everything possible to cater for cultural and spiritual needs.

"Clearly this issue has to be handled very sensitively but it is important that the underlying principle that health provision should be on the basis of need still stands," Dr Hutchison said.

Ends

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