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Cash-strapped DHBs delay hospice funds

Hon Tony Ryall
National Party Health Spokesman

9 January 2006

Cash-strapped DHBs delay hospice funds

Cash-strapped DHBs are delaying paying millions of dollars to hospices, National Party Health spokesman Tony Ryall says.

"Services to dying people and their families are suffering just to make DHB accounts look better,” says Mr Ryall.

“This is another example of where the Government promises funding but is happy for DHBs to keep large amounts to balance their own books.”

In April last year, the Government announced almost $6 million for palliative care as part of its Cancer Control Strategy. The Minister confirmed that $5 million was for local hospices around the country. The money was given to DHBs in July.

“To date, less than half of DHBs have paid out that money,” says Mr Ryall.

"DHBs have had this cash since July. The Health Minister promised it would be paid out quickly. But DHBs are keeping the money to try and balance their books.

"Hospices throughout the country struggle to make ends meet. Their staff and volunteers work tirelessly to support dying people and their families. They deserve better than being denied money that everyone was told they would get.

"A couple of the offending DHBs are talking to hospices, but it’s been six months since they got the money. The Government should be instructing DHBs to hand that money over.

"Eleven of the 21 DHBs have yet to pay out.

"Hospices provide a vital service and they deserve better from this Government,” says Mr Ryall.

ENDS

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