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More policy on the hoof from National

Hon Damien O’Connor
Associate Minister of Health

2nd October 2008

More policy on the hoof from National

The Associate Minister of Health Damien O’Connor described today’s Hospice policy from the National party as typically ad hoc and opportunistic.

“ National are once again making up policy on the hoof as the government has already spent substantial amounts of money on Palliative care this year “.

“You do not just give money to health pressure groups because they demand it in an election campaign ,you construct policy properly and think through the long term consequences,” said Mr O’Connor .

“It is clear that slippery John Key is implementing policy on the basis of the last person he spoke to and just making up the figures as he goes long.”

“The expenditure by District Health boards on palliative care has increased from $30 million in 2003/4 to $ 45 million in 2006-07. I accept not all of this is money is directed to hospices as they have never been the sole providers of palliative care.”

“I would also make the point that an additional $12 million a year has been allocated under the Cancer Control Action plan while the District health boards have also been spending more through their population based funding ,”said Mr O’Connor.

“This is just one part of the picture ,as the Ministry of Health has been developing new specialist palliative care service specifications and has provided an extra 2 million dollars to set up a 24/7 specialist telephone line on palliative care and provide palliative care education to GPs, practise nurses and rest home nurses.”

The Associate Minister said two new key initiatives are a palliative medicine education programme for doctors and recommendations for a nurse training programme for palliative care that will cost a million dollars “

“We will look at extra money for hospices, but palliative care funding has to be seen as a total package and we have work programmes underway to make sure that the whole palliative sector is properly funded “.


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