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Stop pouring petrol on doctors’ dispute: Ryall

Tony Ryall MP
National Party Health Spokesman
23 April 2008

Stop pouring petrol on doctors’ dispute: Ryall

National Party Health spokesman Tony Ryall says the Health Minister is making it even harder for DHBs to reach a deal with junior doctors.

“He is effectively pouring petrol on the fire when, for the sake of patients, he should be hosing things down.

“David Cunliffe has been slating junior doctors at every opportunity. This is hardly the way to get people back to the table, and junior doctors back onto the wards.

"The DHBs and the junior doctors’ union have to stop talking past each other. Another 10,000 patients will have their care disrupted in a fortnight if this isn't sorted.

“The Minister should be promoting compromise, not making public comments which are likely to fuel further resentment. New Zealanders will be asking why he was so keen to take credit for dealing with the senior doctors but is so belligerent with the junior doctors. Why the split personality?

“Many, many thousands of patients are having their healthcare disrupted by these strikes - they should be the priority.”

Mr Ryall says the issues being faced by junior doctors are a symptom of the health workforce crisis that has developed under Labour’s watch.

“Doctors and nurses feel excluded from the running of services by an army of bureaucrats. They’ve watched valuable health dollars go to the back room, rather than those resources being poured in to the front line.

“They’ve seen 43 reports on the workforce come and go since 1999, and little has changed. Meanwhile the number of bureaucrats has exploded.”

National's health discussion paper ‘Better, Sooner, More Convenient’ proposes a number of measures to start tackling the health workforce crisis.

They include, moving to medical training self-sufficiency, investigating bonding and student-loan write-offs for health professionals working in hard-to-staff areas, lowering personal taxes, and re-engaging doctors and nurses in the running of the health system.

ENDS

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