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Senior Medical Staff Next to Strike

Senior Medical Staff Next to Strike

Sunday 27 Oct 2002 Heather Roy Press Releases -- Health

Industrial action in the health sector is set to spread to senior medical staff, ACT New Zealand Health Spokesman Heather Roy said today.

"Senior doctors at Timaru Hospital - the lowest paid in the country - are ready to strike pending the outcome of a stop-work meeting.

"Strike action is extremely rare among senior doctors and the fact they are considering it at all highlights the fragility of the current system.

"I predict Health Minister Annette King will say this is a matter for doctors and the South Canterbury District Health Board to sort out between themselves, despite the fact that she has only allocated two percent funding to DHBs for pay increases.

"Spreading strike action shows that all is not well with the new District Health Boards. Since their inception a year ago two of the 21 CEO's of the District Health Boards have resigned and another is in strife with his board.

"DHB deficits are spiralling out of control, particularly with the larger boards. Dr Cullen has stipulated categorically that the government will only tolerate deficit support of $80 million for the current year but the combined deficits of all 21 boards are projected at around $200 million. At the same time the Minister of Health has made it very clear there should be no cuts to services. DHBs just cannot win.

"Each time Annetter King is asked to comment on a DHB matter she refuses. It is beginning to look as if she has set up the 21 DHB's primarily to absolve herself of all responsibility. According to the Minister, everything is now an internal matter. She simply cannot escape the fact that as Minister she is ultimately responsible," Mrs Roy said.

For more information visit ACT online at http://www.act.org.nz or contact the ACT Parliamentary Office at act@parliament.govt.nz.

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