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Minister’s squeeze on boards closes maternity unit

Minister’s squeeze on boards closes maternity unit

North Shore women will be forced to go to Waitakere for maternity care when a private birthing centre closes because there won’t be enough capacity on the Shore to handle demand, says National Health Spokesperson Dr Lynda Scott.

The North Shore Birthcare maternity unit is set to close at the end of the year because Waitemata Health has decided it can’t fund the unit.

“This is another example of a health board making cuts to services because of its large deficit. This unit doesn’t need to close. It complements the public health service, easing pressure on public maternity services.

“This service is being forced to close because the Minister has encouraged boards to run up deficits and then directed them to cut spending.

“New Zealand needs a strong public and private health sector, but the Minister is turning the clock back 20 years.

“The Government’s view of private health care is based on ideology rather than reason. Annette King’s 1999 comment shows this ‘I have yet to be shown that because you give a contract to a private provider for part of a service that you get a better bang for you buck’.

“The health service operates most effectively as a mix between public and private service delivery. The Minister must explain why she is allowing this vital service to close and why this will be the beginning of many more closures,” said Dr Scott.

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