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Govt pulls rug out from disabled & elderly

Dr Lynda Scott National Health Spokeswoman

23 April 2004

Govt pulls rug out from under disabled and older NZers

Labour has pulled the rug out from under older New Zealanders who find themselves unwell and disabled, says National's Health spokeswoman, Dr Lynda Scott.

She is commenting on a Ministry of Health directive giving two days notice to occupational therapists and District Health Boards south of Hamilton to immediately stop spending on home and vehicle modification, special equipment and driving safety assessments.

Dr Scott says this will force people to stay in hospital or rely on others to look after them.

"It is far better for people to be in their own home with friends and family supporting them than be in hospital.

"For example, a person who has suffered a stroke often cannot go home until their home is modified.

"By halting spending on home modifications, like handrails, Labour is taking freedom and independence away.

"Saving a few dollars on home alteration is pathetic compared with costly hospital stays for people whose doctors won't discharge them because their homes have not been properly altered.

"And by stopping vehicle modifications and assessments, the Government is condemning people to a life of dependence that they may not actually deserve.

"This short-term cost cutting will have major impacts on other parts of the health system and cost more in the long run," says Dr Scott.


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