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Time To Clamp Down, Labour

Time To Clamp Down, Labour

Thursday 14 Aug 2003 Heather Roy Press Releases -- Health

ACT New Zealand Health Spokesman Heather Roy today accused the Government of refusing to hold charitable and iwi-based health providers accountable for their spending of taxpayers' money - in light of the Te Whatiuapiti Trust's comments today that `Government departments cannot forcibly direct charitable trusts'.

"This comment is both arrogant and wrong. Trusts that receive taxpayer funding have an obligation to spend that money in a responsible manner, and must be held accountable for the spending of every cent," Mrs Roy said.

"Transparency is important, so that we can be assured that the money is spent where, and how, it should be. Both trusts and the Health Ministry have an obligation to prove that this is the case.

"Like all Government-funded trusts, Te Whatiuapiti Trust has an obligation to - not only the Government but - the community, to use its funding to provide quality healthcare for its patients. The public has a right to know that patients, their care and health outcomes are the most important considerations.

"Sending an unqualified `nurse' to a school to perform specific nursing duties - as the Te Whatiuapiti Trust has done to Te Aute College - is clearly unacceptable. This matter has rightly been raised in the public domain.

"Using any public health money to hire unqualified staff for jobs requiring specialised treatment is outrageous. This penny-pinching will not achieve the health outcomes that are expected by patients and the public.

"Trustees Association Executive Officer Errol Anderson has said that `where discrepancies are found trusts require guidance, not a heavy handed approach by authorities'. Discrepancies in health spending, which put patients' lives at risk, require the strongest approach. The Government's softness will only result in more of the same, and eventually lead to tragedy," Mrs Roy said.

ENDS

For more information visit ACT online at http://www.act.org.nz or contact the ACT Parliamentary Office at act@parliament.govt.nz.

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