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Focus On Health, Not On Sickness

14 July 2002

The Green Party wants 10 percent of the Health Budget dedicated to public and preventative health within five years, an additional $150 million each year.

Launching the party's Health policy today in Coromandel, Health spokesperson Sue Kedgley said it was ridiculous that currently only three percent of the Health Budget is spent on public health.

"Our hospital services are under intense pressure, with increasing DHB deficits. We can't afford to keep running our health service as the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff.

"Spending more on improving health and on early diagnosis and treatment would reduce the stress on hospitals and doctors."

Ms Kedgley said the Green Party was very concerned about the level of DHB deficits, but it would be shortsighted to promise to wipe out the deficits, only to let them build again.

"The Greens want an urgent review of why the DHBs are getting into debt, and then to ensure that they are in fact being paid enough to meet the real costs of services."

Coromandel MP and Green Party co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons said the policy would help secure full health services for rural communities.

"We would retain rural hospital services, including surgery cover and full access to A&E services.

"Doing elective surgery at secondary hospitals where possible would help to reduce waiting lists and would also help keep rural hospitals open. Working conditions and pay have to be improved to attract quality staff to rural areas.

"I know as Coromandel MP how critical it is for rural communities to have a full operating hospital. While we still have some way to go, I welcome the fact that Thames hospital is now on a much sounder footing than it was three years ago."


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