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National Will Stop Decline To Second World Health

1 July 2002

National Will Stop Decline To Second World Health Service

New Zealand is heading toward a Second World health service unless there is a plan to rescue the rising operating deficits of district health boards, National Health Spokesperson Roger Sowry said today.

National Leader Bill English has today announced a rescue package to allow the country's 21 boards to reduce their operating deficits, which are set to rise to $500m by the end of 2003.

"Waiting lists are growing, cancer patients are having to go to Australia for treatment, mental health is in crisis, and hospitals from Kaitaia, to Hawkes Bay, Taranaki, Palmerston North, and Dunedin are having to cut services," Mr Sowry said.

"Treasury papers show Labour is looking for $120m worth of health cuts in the 2002-03 year.

"Ten out of 21 boards have indicated they will have to make cuts in the forthcoming year.

"As I have travelled around the country people have raised their concerns that the health service is being run down.

"National increased spending on health by an average of 6.1% per annum above inflation in our last two terms of Government. Labour has increased the funding by just 3.5% per annum above inflation in the last three years.

"This is not the health service the Government promised when it raised taxes after the last election for better health services.

"Our policy offers a rescue package for district health boards, more funding for rural health, more psychiatric inpatient beds and a commitment to public-private partnerships for the delivery of some health services to solve the many problems in the sector," Mr Sowry said.


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