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Serious Health Cuts Under Labour Govt.

1 July 2002

Waitemata and Counties Manukau couples affected by infertility will be left without tertiary fertility services if two district health boards cut fertility services, says National's Associate Health spokesperson Dr Paul Hutchison.

"This equates to more than 100 babies not being born in Auckland next year."

The Waitemata and Counties Manukau District Health Boards have given notice that they may stop purchasing infertility treatment within 12 months. Those affected have little time to comment before a final decision is made in early July.

"Axing these important services is yet another example of this Government's underfunding of health. Half of the country's 21 district health boards have already indicated service cuts are likely because of growing deficits.

"Only two weeks ago, Health Minister Annette King told the New Zealand Infertility Society the Government would look favourably at increasing funding for fertility services. She was obviously spinning a line, or totally unaware that Waitemata, who also hold the contract to provide fertility services to Counties, was planning to cut services because of underfunding.

"National has announced it will increase funding for fertility treatment so that couples can be funded for up to three cycles of IVF, compared to one they can get now.

"Waitemata CEO Dwayne Crombie says it is looking at cutting a range of services."

Dr Hutchison says National, during its last two terms in Government, increased health spending by an average of 6.1% a year above inflation. He says despite increasing taxes and promising better health services for all Labour has only increased health spending by 3.5%.

"Waitemata is just one of many DHBs facing serious health cuts. These proposed cuts are testament to Labour's abysmal record in health," says Dr Hutchison.

Ends


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