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Realism Required In Health Priorities

Media Release

20 April 2006

Realism Required In Health Priorities

"New Zealanders will continue to be disappointed in their health system unless urgent attention is given to matching the system's capacity to the public's expectations," says New Zealand First’s health spokesperson Barbara Stewart.

“It is time for an honest and realistic evaluation of what public health can deliver, and exactly what the public ought to expect from it.

"Waiting lists are being culled all over the country and even patients who are fortunate enough to retain their places are by no means guaranteed the treatment they need. In Christchurch we now have a charity hospital to treat some of the thousands who fall through the cracks of the public system.

“Doctors blame lack of funds, the Government blames poor management and in the meantime 10,000 patients nationwide have been sent back to a steadily decreasing number of GPs. In common with most of the rest of the world workforce shortages make matters worse.

“No-one can regard this scenario with any degree of optimism or be naïve enough to believe it will somehow fix itself,” said Mrs Stewart.

“A comprehensive review of the public health system would help to define exactly what the public expects of the health system and what guaranteed minimum services the system can deliver.

“Rather than throwing more money into the current bottomless pit we need to sort out as a society what we are entitled to expect from the health system and what we are not,” said Mrs Stewart.


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