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Cut bureaucracy not disability funding

Tony Ryall MP
National Party Health Spokesman

9 January 2008

Cut bureaucracy not disability funding

"Rather than freezing funding for some of New Zealand's most vulnerable people, the Government should be cutting back on the sky-rocketing number of health bureaucrats," says National Party Health spokesman Tony Ryall.

The Health Ministry has told providers caring for 7000 people with mental and physical disabilities that contract rate increases are being postponed because of a multimillion-dollar blowout on assessing clients' needs. It is the second time increases have been suspended in three years.

"This is typical Labour. When the heat comes on they cut services to those who need them, and leave the bureaucracy completely untouched," Mr Ryall says.

"Millions and millions could be saved with fewer health managers and administrators. That's where the money could be found to help disabled New Zealanders," says National's Disability Issues spokesman Paul Hutchison.

Mr Ryall says the number of hospital managers and administrators has grown by a quarter - or almost 2,000 staff - since Labour came to office.

"There are almost 10,000 of them. It's out of control. And this army of bureaucrats does not include the 1,250 Ministry of Health staff, and it does not include managers in the 81 PHOs or endless consultants.

"While the bureaucrat army's been busy recruiting, the number of vitally needed hospital doctors has increased by only 1,200. When thousands and thousands of patients have been culled from hospital waiting lists, this massive bureaucracy is an appalling indictment on Labour's policies."

In the past financial year taxpayers have spent a massive $544 million spent on hospital managers and administrators.

"National has also revealed that over the past six years, the payroll at the Ministry of Health rocketed by 55% and staff numbers increased by 24%.

"Helen Clark promised to cut a swathe through the health bureaucracy. Instead the health bureaucracy has become fatter and fatter, while disabled New Zealanders are told to wait and wait," Mr Ryall says.

Dr Hutchison says that "David Cunliffe needs to step in and allay the concerns of families who, through no fault of their own, have been treated shoddily by his Ministry.

"This is crazy. They blow out assessment costs, and then try and save it by affecting they very people the public wants to help."

Note: Increases in Hospital Managers and administrators - Bay of Plenty 55%, Hawke's Bay 40%, Hutt Valley 49%, Lakes 43%, MidCentral 47%, Waikato 23%, Waitemata 30%.

ENDS

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