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Treasury Confirms Govt's Slashing Of Health

25 June 2002

Treasury Confirms Govt's Slashing Of Health Services

The Government's plans to slash health services across the country have been confirmed in the Pre-election Economic and Fiscal Update (PREFU) released today, says National Leader Bill English.

"This is a financial scandal as significant as the BNZ.

"New Zealand's 21 district health boards have an accumulated deficit of $300 million, and that will be $500 million by the end of next year.

"The Government says it will only allow a combined deficit for district health boards of $80 million for the 2002-03 financial year, but boards have submitted plans projecting $200 million in deficits.

"This isn't the better health services the Government promised when it raised taxes. It has been very convenient for the Government to call an early election so that the public is unaware of the pending health cuts, but it can't hide them forever.

"The Auckland DHB's strategic plan outlines deficits of $200m in the next three years. This board, which provides many national services, is not only looking at severe cuts, its 2002-07 strategic plan says it will move funding from secondary and tertiary services into primary care.

"All the country's 21 boards are battling growing deficits, at least 10 boards have indicated they will have to reduce services. These hundreds of millions of dollars of deficits are a financial and health scandal.

"The Government must justify why cancer patients can't get treatment, waiting lists are growing and they are running the health system down with these huge deficits and health cuts," Mr English said.

Ends

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