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No funding boost to health in Budget

No funding boost to health in Budget

New Zealanders won't see the Government's claim of a "health funding boost" for another two years, and by then thousands more patients will be chopped off hospital waiting lists and others will have died waiting for surgery, says National Health Spokesperson Dr Lynda Scott.

"The Government is claiming "very much larger" increases to health, but all we have got is previous announcements rolled out again, with the addition of funding for 2005-06.

"This is not an increase and won't help the thousands of patients in Canterbury, Auckland, Bay of Plenty, Hawkes Bay and Otago dropped off surgery waiting lists last year, because their district health boards (DHBs) could not afford hip, knee and cataract operations. "It won't help the cancer patients waiting months for treatment, when they are supposed to receive radiation treatment within a month, or our struggling mental health and aged care facilities.

"We continue to see DHB deficits gobbling up health dollars. Last year Michael Cullen said he wouldn't tolerate health board deficits of more than $80m but they are expected again to be close to $200m.

"In singling out its new Primary Healthcare Organisations (PHOs) in the Budget, the Government is forgetting that doctors believe PHOs are unfair to patients, allowing wealthy people subsidised care while the poor miss out.

"Doctors, and subsequently their patients, have been forced to join this system but history will prove that it is inherently wrong and unfair. The Government's also reneged on low patient fees to the elderly as it had promised from 2003.

"Annette King, despite holding the largest and most desperately in need portfolio, has again failed to win any new funding above what we already knew was coming. Because of this, patients all over the country will continue to miss out on services," Dr Scott said.

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