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Health workforce: New bureaucrats – more reports?

Tony Ryall MP
National Party Health Spokesman

18 September 2008

Health workforce crisis: New bureaucrats – more reports?

National Party Health spokesman Tony Ryall says David Cunliffe’s big announcement today on the health workforce crisis appears to amount to a different group of bureaucrats producing more reports.

Mr Cunliffe has announced the Ministry of Health will now take the lead on workforce planning.

“Labour has produced more than 50 health workforce reports since it came to office. And now instead of countless committees and DHB bureaucrats producing reports and strategies, Mr Cunliffe is suggesting the Health Ministry bureaucrats will do the work instead.

“The only difference is report number 56 will be on Ministry letterhead. After nine years this is a pathetic response.

“Labour’s answer is in stark contrast to the practical approach that National Party Leader John Key outlined today, which will see a ‘voluntary bonding’ scheme offering student loan debt write-offs to graduate doctors, nurses, and midwives agreeing to work in hard-to-staff communities or specialities.

“National has a plan to start dealing with the crisis in the health workforce. Mr Cunliffe wants a new set of bureaucrats to supply him with the same answers he’s had in the 50 or so previous reports received.

“New Zealand is desperately short of doctors, nurses, and midwives. The health system is in crisis, with workforce shortages in many professional fields. National has fresh ideas to address this.

“Voluntary bonding will be part of a toolkit to improve graduate retention. We'll be announcing other plans shortly.”

Mr Ryall says after spending an extra $6 billion a year on health, under Labour fewer New Zealanders are getting the care they deserve. Hospital waiting lists are growing, emergency departments are gridlocked, and bureaucracy is out of control.

“National is determined to deliver Better, Sooner, More Convenient healthcare to New Zealanders.”

ENDS

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