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King-Sized Problems In Health Spending

King-Sized Problems In Health Spending

Friday 25 Jul 2003 Heather Roy Press Releases -- Health

ACT New Zealand Health Spokesman Heather Roy today condemned the Health Ministry for failing to measure the health outcomes of taxpayer-funded health providers, in light of revelations of the Whatuiapiti Trust's questionable use of Ministry funding.

"The Trust receives $1 million a year in taxpayer funds, but - while I have no doubt that the Health Ministry-funded hair salon makes its clients look and feel wonderful - Maori health statistics will not improve if this is how the health dollar is being spent," Mrs Roy said.

"Recently released figures showing lack of progress in Maori life expectancy over the past two decades should highlight the need to closely examine how money is being spent with regard to Maori health.

"The Labour Government must not give Maori health providers millions of taxpayers' dollars with little or no provision for proper accountability. Nor should they give non-Maori health providers money without proper accountability. The problem is that the Health Ministry fails to scrutinise the funding it is responsible for.

"When repeatedly asked about the outputs and health outcomes resulting from health spending, Health Minister Annette King consistently says that, `General health gains are difficult to assess.

"For all we know, these programmes may be working wonderfully - or they could be a complete disaster - we simply don't know. The Minister seems happy to measure her success by the money she throws at Maori programmes, rather than results.

"The Minister is now bullet-dodging, ducking Parliamentary Questions, and saying that these questions should be directed to individual DHBs. That's unacceptable. Taxpayers' money is being spent, and the Minister is responsible. She should be able to explain how and where this money is going," Mrs Roy said.


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