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Tougher Migrant Medical Screening Long Overdue

Media Release
22 January 2004

Tougher Migrant Medical Screening Long Overdue

The expected announcement of tougher medical screening of migrant groups is long overdue and follows years of the Government bringing people with communicable diseases into this country, said New Zealand First’s health spokesperson, Barbara Stewart.

“Health checks are such a basic requirement that there should never have been any question about whether they were necessary. It is not an invasion of privacy, or discriminatory, to expect new arrivals to be free of serious health problems.

“A system which relies on applicants’ honesty to declare that they have diseases such as AIDS, HIV, TB, venereal disease and hepatitis is clearly in need of drastic overhaul,” said Mrs Stewart.

“The well-publicised instance last year of an immigrant infected with TB treating children in a school dental clinic is an example of how the Government has failed to protect New Zealanders from Third World diseases.

“We have an overburdened health system and plenty of uses for every health dollar without bringing in immigrants who need costly treatment for their health problems.

“Auckland hospitals in particular have been hit by extra costs through the Government’s negligence in this respect,” said Mrs Stewart.


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