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Ryall gets it wrong on electives, again

Hon Pete Hodgson
Minister of Health


2 October 2006 Media Statement

Ryall gets it wrong on electives, again

Tony Ryall's response to today's announcement of $200 million for elective surgery shows just how little he comprehends the basics of health policy, Health Minister Pete Hodgson said today.

Pete Hodgson said it was not surprising that Ryall, who is a year into the job of health spokesman and still has not developed a National Party Heath Policy, was unable to come to grips with the weight of today's announcement.

"I was careful when making my announcement today to provide a lot of detail – I even released the full contents of the Cabinet paper that was approved this morning," Pete Hodgson said.

"This meant that we announced more than just money – the government outlined policy changes that will see DHBs paid for surgery on delivery. We're also allowing DHBs to contract with their neighbouring boards, GPs and the private sector. This is about working smarter."

Pete Hodgson said the idea that waiting lists 'culls' will become entrenched is probably the best example of just how wrong Tony Ryall is.

"The National Party introduced the six month policy, but never managed to get it working. This policy is now finally in place and all DHBs are committed to it. If any DHBs fails to remain compliant, not only will they be operating outside the expectations of the Medical Council and the Health and Disability Commissioner, they will no longer be able to access the new funding.

"The public will be able to judge us on what we deliver – DHBs will be setting targets for their improved performance.

"In the mean time Tony Ryall can sit back and see what happens when a government is prepared to invest in the health of families instead of throwing money into reckless tax cuts."

ENDS

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