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Ryall's bureaucrat hunt backfires again

9 May 2006

Ryall's bureaucrat hunt backfires again

Tony Ryall's increasingly desperate search for growth in health sector bureaucracy has backfired for the second time in less than a month, Health Minister Pete Hodgson said today.

Last month Tony Ryall accidentally revealed that under the Labour-led government, three times as many extra doctors and nurses have been hired than new District Health Board administration and management staff.

This gaffe was compounded with the revalation that many of the so-called 'hospital bureaucrats' were actually vital front-line support staff.

Seeking to narrow in even further, Mr Ryall submitted a written parliamentary question that sought to expose a growth in traditional 'bureaucrats' compared to front-line support personnel, like ED receptionists. Instead, the question revealed the opposite – the number of backroom managers is failing to keep pace with the rise in numbers of doctors, nurses and the support staff central to the day-to-day running of a hospital.

"The National Party was always at risk when their only line of attack on health was that Labour's considerable investment was being 'wasted' on burgeoning bureaucracy," Pete Hodgson said.

"Tony Ryall has now fallen into a trap and revealed that under Labour, backroom administrators are being asked to manage more money, more staff and more health services for New Zealand families.

"I appreciate Mr Ryall's assistance is putting the great bureaucrat myth to rest and look forward to a real debate on New Zealand's world-class public health system."

Pete Hodgson released figures showing that in the financial year to March 2006, only 1 in 12 management/administration dollars were spent outside of front-line support. This compares to a figure of 1 in 6 just three years ago.

Backroom DHB managers are now responsible for administering around $7.5 billion in health spending every year.


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