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PHOs are a $400 million disaster

Dr Lynda Scott MP National Party Health Spokeswoman

02 December 2003

PHOs are a $400 million disaster

"The Minister of Health is trying to put a positive spin on a damning report into the implementation of the policy she says she wants to be remembered for," says National Party Health spokeswoman Dr Lynda Scott.

The report into Public Health Organisations (PHOs) by Victoria University's Health Services Research Centre has identified a wide range of fundamental problems.

"But the report fails to tell us whether there has been any improvement to the health of New Zealanders through access to PHOs. We need to know if it is making one jot of difference," says Dr Scott.

"National does not support the PHO policy. Labour squandered a chance to make a real difference to policy by building on GP's previous strengths.

"These are the biggest changes to primary health care since World War Two, but the public has been excluded from the process.

"There has been no consultation and no trialling of this controversial system.

Dr Scott notes the concerns of the New Zealand Medical Association, which says 'if the wider health sector had been taken heed of earlier in the process, many of these problems could have been avoided'.

"GPs have been forced to join PHOs to get any access to new money for their patients," says Dr Scott.

The NZMA says 'the report confirms the enormous commitment by General Practice to set up PHOs, much of it under- or un-funded.'

"The funding mechanisms are unfair, based on location and race.

"PHOs are just another layer of bureaucracy swallowing precious health dollars which could be better spent on the actual delivery of services to New Zealanders," says Dr Scott.


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