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Budget 2005: Poor Health Legacy Continues

Paul Hutchison
National Party Health Spokesman

19 May 2005

Budget 2005: Poor Health Legacy Continues

A legacy of five years of poor quality spending in the health sector is a significant shadow on Labour's health Budget announcement, says National Party Health spokesman Paul Hutchison.

"The 2003 and 2004 Health and Independence Reports show serious problems where, despite more money going in, the volume of operations carried out was extremely unsatisfactory," says Dr Hutchison.

"Statistics NZ figures also show health inflation in the public sector, at 7%, to be about twice that of the private sector.

"Labour is banking on longer-term gains from primary health spending. This spending is untargeted, and many people, including the elderly and those with large families, still have difficulty affording primary care.

"The residential care sector is devastated by Labour failing to recognise the PriceWaterhouseCoopers report of 2000.

"The sector will continue to be seriously underfunded by Labour and it is likely that more rest homes will close, over and above the 38 that have closed in the past three years.

"Home carers, who have a turnover rate of 40% because of poor pay, appear to be no more than a dollar per hour better off, which they should regard as an insult.

"Labour has failed to recognise that it has created a hugely inefficient and highly bureaucratic health system that siphons scarce health dollars away from the patients who should be getting them," says Dr Hutchison.

Ends

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