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NZers' health needs public-private co-operation

Dunne: NZers' health needs public-private co-operation

Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne tonight backed the greater use of private medical facilities to reduce backlogs on the nation's surgical waiting lists.

Addressing the launch of the New Zealand Private Surgical Hospitals Association in Wellington, Mr Dunne pointed out that his party, United Future, had made a point of including a reference to the use of private medical facilities in its confidence and supply agreement with Labour to highlight United Future's belief that there should be greater use of those facilities to reduce waiting lists.

"Those are not empty words," he said "we're determined that they'll be put into practice.

"Indeed, I am advised by the Ministry of Health that it is already possible for District Health Boards to turn to the private sector when they need more capacity, so the question must be asked: why isn't it happening to a greater extent already?"

Mr Dunne referred to this week's controversy over the Auckland DHB performing fewer heart operations than last year.

"I note that Auckland says it has contracted out 20 operations to the private sector already to overcome the backlog. I applaud that initiative and simply ask that it happen more often, all over the country, where the capacity exists.

"After all, New Zealanders don't care about who owns the hospital bed when they get the heart, hip or knee operation they need and they've been promised."


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