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Dangers In Merger Of Adult & Child Health Services

18 June 2002

Dangers In Merger Of Adult And Child Health Services

Auckland District Health Board's plans to amalgamate children and adult respiratory and sleep services means children will miss out on the specialist care they need, National Spokesperson Roger Sowry said today.

"We know that staff have raised concerns that merging children's services with adult services will be clinically dangerous. This move will seriously impact on the expert service that is providing clinically critical services to sick children.

Auckland District Health Board chief executive Graeme Edmond told staff in a memo today that the board would consolidate several services, including respiratory and sleep laboratory services. The memo said continuing separate dedicated units for adults and children was not feasible because of financial pressure.

"The memo says the merger of these services is necessary because of financial constraints. In other words this is all about cost cutting rather than what is best for patients. This merger is in fact against all modern standards for the care of children.

"Auckland DHB is forced to centralise and consolidate services because it is desperately underfunded by this Government. With a projected deficit of $72 million for the current year it is forced to reconfigure services to cut costs.

"The Minister of Health is directly responsible for these changes and must front up to explain why she won't adequately fund the Auckland DHB.

"What does this tell us about the Government's commitment to Starship and the specialist health services provided to kiwi kids? Aucklanders have to ask themselves what services are next for this kind of treatment as the Government continues to pressure the board to make cuts," Mr Sowry said.

Ends

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