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Health Needs More Money To Prevent Cuts

Roger Sowry
National Health Spokesperson

20 May 2002

Health needs more money to prevent cuts

The Government will reannounce its health funding package of $400 million over four years towards primary health care for the third time in this week's Budget but it won't be enough to prevent service cuts at district health boards around the country, National Health Spokesperson Roger Sowry said today.

"The Government needs to significantly increase funding to district health boards to prevent service cuts. It simply hasn't prioritised health which means there isn't enough money in the kitty to prop up what is now a very unwell health system."

"Despite the Minister's promises and spin to the contrary this Government is running health services down.

"Hundreds of cancer patients are waiting months over clinical guideline times for treatment, district health boards are saying they will have to make service cuts because they are so underfunded, health board deficits are climbing to record levels and nurses industrial action is looming again due to underfunding.

"The combined district health board deficit for the 2002-03 financial year is well over $250 million, but Annette King or Helen Clark never explain why.

"A third announcement of the same health funding this week will not be any help to DHBs who have no hope of breaking even, and will go nowhere near meeting cost growth, demand growth and salary increases they face.

"The Government didn't tell voters before the last election that it would starve the health system to this degree. Health is a priority for National. We will adequately resource and fund health so that New Zealanders can get the services they need," Mr Sowry said.

Ends

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