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Tyranny of distance hampers child healthcare

Tyranny of distance hampers child healthcare

The National Party believes the quality of children's healthcare should not depend on where they live.

National's Health spokeswoman Dr Lynda Scott is commenting in the wake of a survey released by the Paediatric Society which shows sick children are receiving markedly different care in different parts of the country.

"I congratulate the Paediatric Society for the benchmarking effort but believe it's a task that should be carried out by the Health Ministry as part of its effort to measure DHB success or failure when caring for kids.

"The society's annual scientific meeting in Queenstown, has been told that while some boards were dealing with the issues, others are 'slipping backwards'," Dr Scott says

Wairarapa received one of the lowest scores along with Auckland, which failed to fill out a questionnaire. South Canterbury was the lowest ranked of all health boards.

"The gaps are widening, there are increasing differences in the level of healthcare delivered to children depending on where they live.

"Part of the blame's being laid at the feet of the Government for leaving national policies to be implemented by individual and often isolated Health Boards.

"Unless the Government and District Health Boards label policies a priority, funding is often denied or cut.

"What worries me now is that other children's healthcare initiatives may fall through the same cracks.

"The alarm's also been raised about a shortage of experienced paediatric nurses and the number of children being cared for in adult wards.

"The fact that Auckland's District Health Board did not take the time to fill out a questionnaire speaks volumes about the management of healthcare in our largest city," Dr Scott says.

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