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Private Healthcare The Real Answer

Private Healthcare The Real Answer

Wednesday 28 Jul 2004

Heather Roy - Press Releases - Health

ACT New Zealand Health Spokesman Heather Roy today said the move of some emergency departments offering patients vouchers for private care is a step in the right direction.

"Increasing numbers of patients presenting for treatment at A&E departments is a nationwide trend - one that is inevitable when you have a fee-paying service competing with one that is free," Mrs Roy said.

"Some patients will always exploit such a system. Few people would choose to pay medical fees if they know there is a place where they can be treated free of charge. This means that, rather than seeing their GP, many patients are opting instead to show up at A&E - often with problems that do not warrant urgent medical attention.

"The result is even more pressure on already over-stretched services and over-worked hospital staff. Which is why the idea of offering some emergency patients private care is a step in the right direction: it gets the incentives right and will remove much of the burden from hospital staff.

"This, however, would be completely unnecessary if the public sector had been encouraged to co-operate with the private sector. By allowing its ideological objection to private healthcare to colour its policies, the Government has ignored the availability of other providers and left the public sector to bear the load alone.

"The increasing demands of our aging population mean that we must look at other ways of providing health services. The private sector has the capacity, expertise and willingness to expand, and we should be using it more. Provision of health services by the private sector is the way of the future," Mrs Roy said.

ENDS


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