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Labour Should Come Clean on Contracting Out

Tuesday 9 Jul 2002

ACT Leader Richard Prebble said Labour should come clean on where it stands on contracting out hospital services.

"In the last election campaign, Health Minister Annette King stated that contracting out hospital services was a "major risk". She criticised the contracting out of hospital services such as the Hawera Hospital emergency department as "undermining the public health system."

"When ACT announced its Patient Guarantee to use the private sector to help eliminate hospital waiting lists, Associate Minister of Health Ruth Dyson accused ACT of "having an ideological approach" and wanting to undermine the public sector.

"When I today pointed out that Waikato Health is engaged in confidential negotiations with Ascot Hospital to do public hospital patients' heart operations, Waikato Health says "this is nothing new".

"What is the Labour Government's view on using the private sector? If the Government is not opposed to using the private sector, why are there 220 heart patients in Wellington who have been waiting more than six months for their heart operations following Capital-Coast Health's cancellation of its contract with the private sector?

"Why are patients waiting fifteen weeks for chemotherapy? Why doesn't the Government adopt ACT's practical solution and instruct all hospital boards to refer patients waiting past medically acceptable times on waiting lists to the private sector," Mr Prebble asked.


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