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Separatist healthcare in Counties-Manukau

Dr Lynda Scott
National Health Spokeswoman

11 February 2004

Separatist healthcare in Counties-Manukau

Scarce health dollars are being squandered on unproven alternative Maori medicines and spiritual healing in South Auckland while access to vital elective surgery is being neglected, says National Health spokeswoman Dr Lynda Scott.

She was commenting on a report that Counties-Manukau District Health Board has approved the introduction of traditional healing practices, such as massage, spiritual healing and karakia.

"It seems this DHB and the Minister of Health believe spiritual healing offers a better health outcome for Maori than improved access to elective surgery," says Dr Scott.

"Let's look at the facts. Counties-Manukau DHB's 2003 annual report showed it had a $47.6 million deficit and yet it can find money to support unproven alternative healing practices while having the lowest intervention rate for cataracts of all the Auckland DHB's.

"They also raised the bar to get general surgery, orthopeadics, gynaecology and ear, nose and throat procedures, meaning you have to be sicker to get service.

"This is scandalous.

"Maori are over-represented in hospital's top 10 conditions, including asthma and diabetes, and the minister must explain how Maori getting taxpayer-funded massage, spiritual healing and karakia will reduce the number suffering from these chronic conditions.

"It's time fewer health dollars were spent on political correctness and more on proven health measures that improve outcomes," says Dr Scott.

Ends

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