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Doctors Stuck Doing WINZ Job

Doctors Stuck Doing WINZ Job

Monday 26 Jul 2004

Heather Roy - Press Releases - Health

ACT New Zealand Health Spokesman Heather Roy today expressed concern, but not surprise, that doctors are speaking out over being swamped by unemployed people seeking medical certificates to enable to them to sign up for the Sickness benefit.

"This issue is, by no means, new. These concerns have been apparent for some time, and it is not surprising that General Practitioners and the new Zealand Medical association are now voicing their concerns publicly," Mrs Roy said.

"What is even more concerning is that many of these patients are claiming that they have been referred to doctors - often, not even their own - by WINZ. Doctors are expected to diagnose these people as too ill to work - yet most are not.

"Doctors are being put in impossible situations. Those arriving for assessment are under the impression that they will be given the tick for a Sickness Benefit - and it is the doctor who is forced to say no when it is really the job of WINZ staff.

"This appears to be a widespread problem, and it is imperative that it is brought under control. Social services and employment Minister Steve Maharey should be directing WINZ staff to cease this unacceptable practice - and Health Minister Annette King should be telling him that doctors are there to help the genuinely ill, not make Labour's unemployment figures look good," Mrs Roy said.

ENDS


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