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National Health System A Juggling Act

3 September 2004

National Health System A Juggling Act

The description of the provision of health services as a ‘juggling act’ by the Chief Executive Officer of Capital and Coast district health board Margot Mains, is sadly equally applicable to the public health system as a whole, says New Zealand First health spokesperson, Barbara Stewart.

“Mains’ comment that dhb’s with limited resources are often forced to chose between equally valid health outcomes, but at the expense of each other, highlights the true lack of leadership from the Minister of Health and her Ministry. “With a population of just over 4 million we have 21 separate boards administering our public health system. The health system as a whole lacks coherency and is bloated with competing bureaucracies more interested in protecting their particular patch than working together for better health outcomes.

“We have no national strategies for dealing with our biggest killers such as cancer, diabetes or heart disease – if you fall victim to any of these your fate could ultimately depend on where you live and what treatment is available from your particular dhb.

“New Zealanders simply aren’t getting value for money from the health system. The Minister must show some accountability, work toward to national interest with national level strategies in key areas and reduce the oversized bureaucracy so that health dollars can go where they are intended – remedying poor health.”


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