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Too Many Cooks

Too Many Cooks

ACT New Zealand Health Spokesman Heather Roy today criticised the Labour Government's lack of accountability, in the wake of reports that a cook has been placed in charge of a Wellington eating disorders clinic.

"While I have no doubt that this woman has wonderful organisational skills, it does not alter the fact that she is a cook - not a health professional - and, as such, should not hold a position with this kind of responsibility," Mrs Roy said.

"This situation - where a cook holds one-on-one counselling sessions with patients, and administers methadone - highlights the serious staff shortages in our health sector. Thanks to Labour, we have hospitality staff treating patients, while our qualified, experienced professionals head overseas in search of better working conditions and pay.

"The question that must be raised through all of this is, of course, how it happened. There is a serious lack of accountability within the health system. The Government gives health providers and clinics huge amounts of taxpayer money to do what they will - which is hire cheaper, unqualified staff, rather than doctors, nurses and trained health professionals.

"Of course, Health Minister Annette King will seek to place blame elsewhere - just as she has devolved responsibility while hospital waiting lists grow, patients in need of surgery are referred back to GPs, and vulnerable mentally ill patients slip through the cracks of a fragmented mental health system.

"Ms King, and her Government, cannot ignore the criticism any longer. Voices are being raised in protest over Labour's lack of accountability. From Maori leaders - such as Ranginui Walker - and Opposition health spokesmen, to patients and their families, the entire country has seen through the Minister's façade, and knows she is incapable of adequately caring for New Zealand patients," Mrs Roy said.

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