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Childflight Victim Of Government Meddling

Childflight Victim Of Government Meddling

Friday 15 Aug 2003 Heather Roy Press Releases -- Health

ACT New Zealand Health and Internal Affairs Spokesman Heather Roy today criticised Associate Health Minister Ruth Dyson's comment that there are 10 other operators that can fill the void left by the closure of Childflight, and likened that claim to saying that taxis could take over from the ambulance service.

"Childflight's grounding has removed a third of the specialised air ambulance capacity in New Zealand. For Ms Dyson to claim that other operators can replace Childflight, shows that she is remarkably ill-informed," Mrs Roy said.

"Contrary to the Minister's belief, there is actually only one other air ambulance in the country as sophisticated as Childflight - Wellington-based Lifeflight. These two are the only services with specialised aviation incubators for premature babies - with Childflight gone, more babies in need of treatment will be placed at considerable risk.

"Auckland DHB's Dr Sage has called on the Government to fund Childflight - but why should it? Childflight has effectively been self-sufficient and provided an exemplary service without Health Ministry assistance to date.

"The Internal Affairs Department has a lot to answer for. Childflight lost its funding after a High Court ruling prevented it from taking profits from gaming machines at pubs it owns. Beforehand, however, Childflight had sought advice from Internal Affairs - who failed to give it.

"This raises huge questions about the role of Internal Affairs and gaming, especially in light of the fact that the Gambling Bill is before Parliament and proposes to significantly strengthen the power of Internal Affairs.

"This is yet another example of the bossy Labour Government sticking its nose into the affairs of organisations that are running independently and effectively. This control-freak attitude will place babies' lives at risk - and shows that the Government should have kept well out in the first place," Mrs Roy said.


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