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PHO Criticisms Echo ACT Warnings

PHO Criticisms Echo ACT Warnings

Media reports today of PHO staff criticisms of the Government's implementation of the primary health strategy, have simply re-iterated what ACT has always warned - that changes in the delivery of primary healthcare have actually resulted in very little improvement, ACT New Zealand Health Spokesman Heather Roy said today.

"Services that were being provided previously have faced upheaval, and increased bureaucracy - all for very dubious results," Mrs Roy said.

"Very few people can actually explain what a Primary Healthcare Organisation is or does - or even whether they are enrolled in one.

"The Health Ministry promised a comprehensive advertising campaign to assist General Practitioners who joined PHOs to inform the public of what changes to their care would involve. That campaign, however, never appeared, and PHOs have been left to inform the public themselves.

"This, as well as increased bureaucracy, has resulted in much-needed health dollars going to cover administration costs - rather than going toward healthcare. The situation is not helped by the Ministry's reported tardiness in making payments to PHOs.

Further, small PHOs - which received Ministry approval despite lacking critical mass - are facing financial difficulties, and there are inequities of service for those in need of care but missing out because they are not of Maori or Pacific descent, or because of where they live.

"These are problems that ACT has predicted all along. What New Zealanders need, and want, is access to quality healthcare. What they have, however, is an inequitable system based on the Government picking its favourite voting groups," Mrs Roy said.

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