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Labour Breaks Health Promises

Thursday 27 Jun 2002

"The Labour Governments promise that hospital services would not be cut is as hollow as their promise that surgery waiting lists would be slashed," says ACT New Zealand's Deputy Leader and Health Spokesman Ken Shirley.

"In reality waiting lists are as long as ever and growing and the Government has simply disguised the statistics by creating the new categories of `Active Review' and `GP care'.

Under these categories patients are still waiting for an operation but are unscheduled and they do not appear on the list.

"The promise that hospital services would not be cut has also been broken and the crisis facing Kaitaia Hospital is the first of many. The DHB's debt loading means they have no option but to cut services and rural communities will suffer the most.

"The suspension of 24-hour surgery at Kaitaia was the first step and now the demise of obstetrics following the banning of caesarean operations will further downgrade Kaitaia's services.

"It is clear that the recently introduced credentialing system is being used by the Government as the excuse for the withdrawal of services.

"The irony is that credentialing is promoted as a clinical safety issue and somehow the Government wants us to believe that no services in remoter communities is safer than existing services that have safely met the community's needs over many decades.

"The Northland DHB has revealed that their deficit has blown out for the 2001/2002 year from $400 thousand to $6 million - a 15 fold increase".

"Worse, the Board is forecasting deficits of $9.8 million , $6.7 million and $4.1 million over the next three years.

"This will cause a further blowout to the debt of the Northland DHB which stood at $7 million as at June 2001.

"Collectively, the 21 DHBs around the country have debt loadings of $900 million, $327 million higher than when Labour took office," concluded Mr Shirley.

Ends


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