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Hodgson can't quantify unpaid bills

Hon Tony Ryall
National Party Health Spokesman

18 July 2006

Hodgson can’t quantify unpaid bills

Health Minister Pete Hodgson doesn’t know how much money is owed to New Zealand’s 21 DHBs by foreign patients in unpaid hospital bills, says National’s Health spokesman, Tony Ryall.

“Mr Hodgson has proved he is entirely comfortable letting millions upon millions of dollars owed to DHBs by foreign patients remain unpaid while New Zealanders continue to be culled from hospital waiting lists,” says Mr Ryall.

In Parliament today, the Minister could not say how much money is owed to DHBs in unpaid hospital bills run up by foreign patients.

This follows reports that immigration officials are granting residence to foreigners despite medical advice that they will cost the public health service millions of dollars each year.

The three Auckland DHBs are reported to be owed more than $4 million from foreign patients, with some lower North Island DHBs owed almost $2 million.

“This Minister is showing himself to be clumsy and incompetent. He is not taking this issue seriously.

"Mr Hodgson is denying treatment to thousands of Kiwis culled from waiting lists, yet he is happy to pay out for people who shouldn't be here.

“Labour claims to have tightened up health screening of immigrants, but there is little evidence this is happening. And now we have a Health Minister who doesn’t even know how much is owed,” says Mr Ryall.


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