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Health funding must be based on need

Dr Lynda Scott & Dr Paul Hutchison
National Health Spokespeople

4 March 2004

Health funding must be based on need

Health funding should be based on income and high health needs, not race, say the National Party's two medical doctors.

"I agree that health policies cannot be based on income alone, but early Maori death rates are caused by high health needs," said National's Health spokesperson Dr Lynda Scott.

"Targeting of extra health dollars would be much more effective if the Government had listened to the primary health care sector and used the Care Plus Health Card.

"Annette King paid only lip-service to this model, putting in place a few million dollars to pilot the scheme. At the same time $165 million was spent on Primary Health Organisation funding, based on race and location, rather than individual health need."

National's Science and Associate Health spokesperson Dr Paul Hutchison says ethnicity and income are only part of the problem.

"The unpublished study on mortality rates is fraught with interpretation difficulties. Other contributing factors include age, sex, diet, exercise and smoking.

"The growing epidemic in New Zealand of obesity, diabetes and heart disease is common to all groups and should be treated according to need," said Dr Hutchison.

Ends

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