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Health System in a state of Ill-health

‘Health System in a state of Ill-health’

Tariana Turia, Co-leader, Maori Party

Health Spokesperson, Maori Party; 8 September 2006

Maori Party health spokesperson, Tariana Turia, has today spoken out about the decision by the Auckland region’s District Health Boards to award the contract for the provision of community laboratory services to Labtests Auckland.

“The call from 100,000 New Zealanders signing a petition over the loss of the contract should be listened to” said Mrs Turia. “The Auckland District Health Board community said it all on their placards, ‘the DHBs have got it wrong’”.

“It simply doesn’t make sense - that an organisation with the workers, infrastructure and experience of Diagnostic MedLab is being overlooked purely on cost grounds”.

“On top of that, the industrial action taking place in the Hutt Valley, Lakes, Bay of Plenty, Tairawhiti, Canterbury, Southland and Otago hospitals is a major concern for the Maori Party.

“Health is a right not a privilege” said Mrs Turia. “The Maori Party believes that the key priority in health for all players in the health sector, must be to ensure there are affordable and culturally safe services and treatments for all”.

“Patients, whanau, communities - who have all been compromised by the ongoing doctors’ disputes - will now face the threat of strike from the radiographers”.

“The Maori Party is already aware of the fact that Maori are more likely to receive ‘sub-optimal care’ in hospitals, than other New Zealanders” said Mrs Turia. “We are obviously concerned that, given the fact that the majority of patients admitted to hospital require radiographer services, that this latest industrial action will impact disproportionately on Maori who access public hospitals”.

A Lancet article published earlier this year, confirmed that from a sample of 6579 patients admitted to thirteen hospitals, Maori patients “had a higher risk of preventable adverse events in hospital than did patients of non-Maori, non-Pacific origin”. The report also states that “Maori were more likely to receive sub-optimal care”.

“Radiographer shortage must also impact on other regional hospitals - and I am sure that the downstream impact of this action will have nationwide consequences” said Mrs Turia.


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