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Deals Must Ensure Health Services Are Maintained

6 August 2002

Coalition Deals Must Ensure Health Services Are Maintained

The Greens and United Future should assure New Zealanders that any coalition deal they make with Labour includes specific provision to maintain and improve health services, says National's Health spokesperson Roger Sowry.

"Today we learn that Pegasus, one of Christchurch's leading health providers, has withdrawn key community services because the Canterbury District Health Board has refused to fund these services for the last month amid drawn-out contract negotiations, and as the board tries to reduce its $23m operating deficit.

"The services provided by Pegasus have been innovative and effective in reducing referrals to hospital by 20 per cent and consequently have saved the DHB thousands of dollars in the last few years.

Mr Sowry says what is happening in Christchurch is symptomatic of what is happening to health services across the country.

"The Auckland DHB, dealing with a projected $86 million deficit, is now saying that some patients will have to be sicker to receive treatment. Counties Manukau DHB is looking at a projected $46 million deficit and can't rule out service cuts. Waitemata DHB has also considered cutting services such as fertility treatment and dental services.

"The Labour-Alliance Government failed New Zealanders in health. Both the Greens and United Future must insist that any coalition agreement they enter into with Labour includes specific guarantees to maintain health services in New Zealand," Mr Sowry says.

Ends


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