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Govt places health services under added pressure

Government Places Auckland and West Coast Health Services Under Added Pressure

The Government plans to force district health boards in Auckland and the West Coast to cut services and wages further to bring ballooning health board deficits under control, ACT Associate Health Spokesperson Dr Muriel Newman revealed today.

"Information provided to me under the Official Information Act shows that the Government plans to increase pressure on District Health Boards that have large relative deficits, such as Auckland and the West Coast, to constrain the growth in costs.

"The information I have received outlines the plan to reduce District Health Board deficits to zero within three years, and notes that the Auckland and West Coast District Health Boards "need to have the ability to place sustained pressure on wage growth for three to four years and/or reconfigure services and/or implement service reductions."

"That means that nurses in those areas will have little chance of wage increases, and that patients can look forward to service cuts, if the Government sticks to its guns.

"Cost growth in Auckland has been running at more than 5% over the last three years. To restrict cost growth to 2% this year and 3% next year means something has to give.

"Under a Labour government, the people in those areas will find a health service under even more pressure than it is today," Dr Newman said.

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