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Blood Test, Comrade?

Blood Test, Comrade?

ACT New Zealand Health Spokesman Heather Roy today renewed her attack on the Government's consideration of a plan to nationalise privately owned medical laboratories, labelling it another example of Labour's ideological opposition to private sector involvement in health.

"A confidential discussion paper I have obtained, entitled `Options for Reform of Diagnostic Laboratory Services Markets, recommends nationalisation of privately owned medical laboratories as a `preferred option' for Government policy," Mrs Roy said.

"Prepared by consultants for District Health Boards New Zealand, the paper advocates restricting the availability of publicly-funded diagnostic systems and replacing the present fee-for-services pricing mechanism with a restricted list of approved tests.

"Unfortunately this move fits into Labour's Soviet-style ideology. The Government has not ruled it out - just devolved responsibility, with Associate Health Minister Damien O'Connor saying, "the Minister cannot guarantee that DHBs will not implement the preferred option of in the document, as DHBs are the agencies responsible for funding laboratory services'.

And, with capacity assessments now being conducted throughout the country - to gauge whether hospitals can take on the workload of private labs - nationalisation may be a foregone conclusion. And, in true Labour fashion, it will be introduced by stealth.

"The state already has too much control over the health system, and still it claws for more. I predict that the Government will next hit private radiology services in its aim to wipe out private contributions to health.

"Labour's priorities are all wrong. Ideology should come after efficient healthcare services. Keeping people healthy is more important than emulating such countries as North Korea or Cuba - the only nations in the world still advocating the nationalisation of as many services as possible. The Government has no interest in getting things right - just getting them as extremely Left as possible," Mrs Roy said.

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