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An Announcement Isn't Enough, Ms King

An Announcement Isn't Enough, Ms King

Government statistics out today confirm massive underspending in the health budget of $173 million for the first four months of the year- almost half the extra $400 million the Health Minister announced a year ago, ACT Health Spokesman Heather Roy said today.

"Annette King first announced extra spending a year ago. She has announced it on three separate occasions since, yet a year later we find she has still not got around to putting resources where she has promised.

"The public health financial statistics for the September 2002 quarter confirm that the deficit problems plaguing the health boards under Labour have not been resolved. September deficits totalled 29.9 million - just a small reduction on the $34 million recorded in September 2001.

"Annette King was quick to announce extra spending, and has certainly announced it often, but has failed miserably when it comes to actually delivering.

"Waiting lists for elective services are persisting, while a disturbingly high number of New Zealanders continue to be shunted sideways into `active review' or `GP care' - King's euphemisms for hidden waiting lists.

"If Ms King had allocated the money she has continuously announced, some DHBs would not have needed to increase the points thresholds needed for operations. Mental health spending, which is only at 65 percent of the total recommended by the Mental Health Commission, could have been directed to ensure there are enough beds for those needing them. The industrial action that continues to plague the health system in Auckland, Timaru and Southland could have been sorted out.

"While throwing more and more money at an issue is certainly no solution, Annette King's strategy of announcing extra spending without doing a thing is unacceptable," Mrs Roy said.

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