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Labour's Hypocritical Oath

Labour's Hypocritical Oath

ACT New Zealand Health Spokesman Heather Roy today accused the Labour Government of racial discrimination, and said that it was using its Primary Health Organisations to create a two-tiered health system.

"The Government is using patients' location and race as a basis for its funding of PHOs - if patients live in a poor area, or have a brown skin, then they're in luck," Mrs Roy said.

"If you are Maori, or of Pacific Island descent, you are eligible for well-funded healthcare. Similarly, if you live in a poorer area which has been approved by the Health Ministry, you are also eligible - regardless of your income, or health needs.

"At the same time, Auckland GP Dr Judy Goulden has said that the Government's low-cost health policy is hurting those general practises excluded from the scheme. Her comments illustrate the emergence of an unfair system which favours some doctor's practises over others.

"High subsidy practises are poaching patients from their less fortunate neighbours, and we are now hearing stories of some PHOs signing patients up in public carparks and church halls. The emphasis is on quantity, not quality of care.

"According to Health Minister Annette King, this strategy will reduce inequities, and close the gaps, in our health system. Instead, it is creating a split healthcare system, one which provides cheap care for those of particular races, while leaving the rest of the country to pay through the nose.

"The only fair way to allocate funding for primary healthcare is based on income and health needs - not where you live, or the colour of your skin," Mrs Roy said.

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