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Collins Comments: National's Plan For Health

Judith Collins Clevedon MP
8 September 2005

National's plan for health

For too long now New Zealanders have been hearing reports of our health system struggling to cope, despite greatly increased funding. New Zealand's health budget has been increased more than 50% from $6.1 billion to $9.7 billion in the six years to this current 2005/06 year. But it is not a question of the amount of money spent, it is a question of getting value for money.

New Zealanders are forced to wait too long for surgery. We spend too little on the genuinely needy. The aged care residential sector is severely under-funded to the point where 40 rest homes have closed in the past few years.

When Labour came to power in 1999 they promised to fix the health system. What we got was minimal scrutiny and little accountability. Labour promised to shrink the health bureaucracy, but instead they expanded it. The growth was disguised by moving functions around, some being merged into the Ministry of Health, some transferred to District Health Boards. What we have now is a maze of bureaucracy. Its most notable feature is a lack of accountability. This is not good enough. The New Zealand tax payer deserves better.

National will:

* Undertake a full review of the functions performed within the Ministry of Health and the various entities which report to it. This will NOT be a precursor to yet another restructuring of the health sector. The aim will be to streamline operations and improve efficiency.

* Seek to remove unnecessary administration, duplication and fragmentation from the health system by better planning on a local, regional and national level.

* Work to restore the productivity of our health system by working and consulting with health professionals involved

* Seek to expand the partnership between the public and private health sectors to improve the overall productivity of the health sector, to get better utilisation of resources and therefore better value for taxpayers' money.

* Focus attention on the most vulnerable in New Zealand by maintaining universal subsidies for doctor visits and prescriptions for the young and the retired. For people of working age National will target assistance to those who genuinely need it.

* Boost funding to Pharmac by $75 million over the next three years to expand the availability of new drugs.

* One of the highest priorities in health will be in aged care. National will ensure the inflation adjustment is passed on to Aged Care providers in a timely way. This will have an initial annual cost of around $24million, exclusive of GST. National will also commit a further $35 million per year into the Aged Residential Care contract from April 1, 2006 as a second step towards redressing Labour's severe underfunding. National has already committed $19 million per annum to fund homecare workers' travel costs

To read more about Nationals plan for health visit http://www.national.org.nz/ and if you haven't done it already visit www.taxcuts.co.nz to see what Nationals tax cuts mean for you.

Celebrating Life Calendar You can support Look Good Feel Better (NZ) a registered national charity that works tirelessly for people with cancer by buying a beautiful calendar featuring breast cancer survivors. For further information please phone or fax Lynn Grace on 09 534-9298.

This newsletter is available on my website www.judithcollins.co.nz.

ENDS

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