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DHBs struggle, King under pressure

Judith Collins National Party Health Spokeswoman

2 December 2004

DHBs struggle, King under pressure

After years of ducking responsibility for her 21 dysfunctional District Health Boards, Annette King has been forced to step in and admit Auckland DHB cannot cope despite millions of dollars being poured into it, says National's Health spokeswoman, Judith Collins.

The Minister today appointed an adviser to Auckland DHB which is struggling with a $67 million deficit.

Ms Collins says it's about time Ms King took some responsibility for the failings of the health system for which she is responsible.

"Despite an almost 30% increase in the health budget between the 1999/00 and 2003/04 financial years, the number of operations performed has actually dropped by 1.8%."

In the past year: o Accident and Emergency departments have been thrown into crisis with 12 DHBs failing to meet the benchmark of seeing 80% of Triage 2 patients within 10 minutes, and 16 failing to meet the benchmark of seeing 75% of Triage 3 patients within 30 minutes. o The wait to get onto a waiting list has increased, with 16 of 21 DHBs failing to meet their targets for reassessing Active Review patients. o DHB deficits have continued to spiral out of control, increasing by $15 million in the September quarter alone.

"The Minister claims the buck stops with her but we are yet to see any evidence of that. Instead, she prefers to leave the problems to the DHB to sort out," says Ms Collins.

"The health system is plagued by problems, and it's going from bad to worse. The Government's fast-expanding bureaucratic health monster is slowing up operations and ultimately costing the lives of Kiwis who deserve better".

ENDS

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