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Further erosion of Northland hospital services

2 December 2005

Lab tender further erosion of Northland hospital services

The Northland District Health Board's decision to tender out their hospital laboratory's community testing services brings the future of small local hospitals in the region further into question, Green Party Rural Affairs Spokesperson Sue Bradford says.

The DHB made the move behind closed doors in September and is due to allocate tenders at a meeting this coming Monday, 5 December.

"After what happened at Kaitaia Hospital, I fear for the future of Dargaville Hospital in particular," Northland-based Ms Bradford says.

"This is all part the gradual erosion of hospital services at Dargaville, Kaitaia, Rawene and Kawakawa, which is not what was envisioned when semi-democratic governance was returned with the restoration of district health boards by the Labour-led Government.

"It is just as unacceptable for an elected body to not consult their community as it is for an appointed body. Why did the DHB try to keep the decision to go to tender secret?

"And, given that, just how open was the tender process itself? The tender put forward by Northland Health and Northland Pathology, a privately and Australian owned company, makes all this look a little too cosy.

"The DHB and the Government should be doing all they can to build up hospital services in Northland. Being a long peninsula, Northland's geography alone requires well-dispersed services. But in addition, Northlanders' health needs are also very high, due to low incomes and a significant Maori population.

"The Green Party defends rural services wherever they still exist," Ms Bradford says.

ENDS

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