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Misused public health money must be paid back

Misused public health money must be paid back

Doctors, pharmacists and rest-home owners who break rules and misuse taxpayers' money must pay it back, and that's a message for the Labour Government too, says National 's Health spokesman, Tony Ryall


He is commenting on a report that investigations by HealthPAC, the Health Ministry's audit and compliance team, has enabled it to recover $8.36 million in the past financial year by reclaiming money or encouraging providers to clean up their act.

"Every health dollar is vital. Health professionals have to be ever vigilant when dealing with public money.

"The health system cannot afford to have people misuse taxpayers' money. Claiming for dead people and prescriptions not asked for is outrageous and should be dealt with severely. These bad apples threaten public esteem in our hard-working health professionals.

"Many people will see it as a double standard for the Government to argue that such money should be paid back when Labour itself is refusing to pay back hundreds of thousands of dollars of taxpayers' money used unlawfully to get themselves re-elected last year.

"The public does not tolerate scarce taxpayers’ dollars being misused in this way – by health providers or by government," says Mr Ryall.

"Another point raised in this issue is the effect of three-month dispensing on rural pharmacies. National has discovered that the Government has done no work on the effect of their policy on rural pharmacy services. Parliamentary questions show that the Government does not even know how much money has been saved by the new policy, if any."

Ends

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