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Roy Welcomes Baker's Comments

Roy Welcomes Baker's Comments

ACT New Zealand Health Spokesman Heather Roy today slammed Health Minister Annette King for her criticisms of Canterbury District Health Board member Erin Baker, saying the biggest problem facing New Zealand healthcare is the lack of intellectual honesty over our rationed system.

"Demand for quality, affordable healthcare far outstrips supply. It is extremely reassuring to find one lone DHB member who can see Health Minister Annette King's cover-up agenda for what it is," Mrs Roy said.

"DHB members have effectively been gagged by the Minister, who said last year in Parliament that `boards and their members' first responsibility is to the Minister of Health and implementing health policy'. The public has been duped into thinking that elected board members are there to represent their interests.

"Ms King insists things are on track, with health spending set to account for 21 percent of total Government expenditure, and $400 million cash injections for primary healthcare. What she fails to explain, however, is that $120 million of that is `catch-up' funding.

"The Minister has expressed her disappointment at Ms Baker's comments, and for not getting people involved in fitness. If this is the role Ms King sees for DHB members, then there is very little hope for our public health sector.

"The World Health Organisation's 2000 report showed that much could be gained from increased private sector participation in healthcare. I support Ms Baker's call for an honest discussion about how our health dollars are spent - the current situation, however, is one where a thin pretence is maintained, everything is covered up and any failings are attributed to individual doctors and nurses," Mrs Roy said.

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