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Anderton Opens New Medical Centre

Anderton Opens New Medical Centre

Jim Anderton today opened the new Selwyn St medical centre, almost alongside his own electorate office in Spreydon. Jim Anderton took the opportunity to put the Labour-Progressive government's health achievements on record in his speech at the opening in his electorate.

"I've always believed our society should try providing the highest quality health care for everyone - young, old, rich and poor. And the cornerstone of any system of care is primary care. The care provided by clinics, such as the Selwyn St medical centre, makes more difference to more people than anything else we do.

"That's why this Labour-Progressive government has made a $2.2 billion investment in primary health care over the last seven years. In 2004 and 2005 money was made available to improve access to doctors for everyone under 24 and everyone aged 65 and over. This year, increased funding will lower GP fees for 45-64 year olds. And then next year, lower GP fees will become universal with 25 to 44 year olds receiving new funding. All of these initiatives have been implemented in partnership with primary health care professionals.

"The results are telling. A recent study by the Commonwealth Fund compared primary health care in Canada, Australia, the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany and New Zealand. This was a patient's eye view of health systems. Patients ranked health care on safety, effectiveness, efficiency, and so on.

"The study showed New Zealand's primary health care sector is leading the world in efforts to reduce inequalities and in developing community-led disease prevention. New Zealand ranked second only to Germany on overall rankings ahead of Canada, the UK, Australia, and the US. In ten of the 38 criteria, New Zealand ranked first.

"We came up well especially in measures of our GPs and nurses. That's an outstanding achievement for our primary health care services. It's a measurement that shows centres like this one are delivering world-class results for their community. I'm proud the government has worked constructively with the primary health sector to make as much progress as we have.

"The Labour-Progressive government has also undertaken the single largest hospital building programme in living memory with new public hospitals from Kaitaia to Invercargill. We have also provided an historic pay increase to build and maintain our workforce of nurses and other health professionals we employ in public hospitals.

"Public hospitals are handling 20 per cent more medical cases and twelve percent more case-weighted elective surgery. So we're making progress from community level care like this centre and right across the board. If we're serious about improving health, we need to be serious about prevention and primary health care. That care starts right here.

"Today's ceremony celebrates the work put in by this centre. It recognises the contribution this centre makes to our local community and its role as one of our dependable institutions. Congratulations then to everyone who has helped to bring about this new step into the centre's future," Jim Anderton said today in Christchurch.

Ends

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