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Labour condemns two-tier maternity service

Labour 2000 web site
Economic apartheid in the public health service is a direct result of the ill-conceived policies of the National Government, Labour health spokesperson Annette King said today.

"What we want is quality maternity care for all women, not a Rolls Royce service for those who can afford it, and the back of the bus for the rest.

"If women want to pay for care, they can do that through the private sector. But a public hospital's role is to provide good quality, safe services for all women. Offering an elite service, which the majority can't access, is not the New Zealand way.

"It's a new version of "let them eat cake." Women in the traditional maternity wards at National Women's Hospital will get a plate of custard, while the well-heeled new mothers in the luxury ward are eating chocolate gateaux.

"Auckland Healthcare says the luxury ward will be serviced by senior midwives. Does this mean the paying customers will get the best and most experienced staff?

"This unfortunate situation is a direct result of Government policy. National set up a competitive health market and public funding is now going to private maternity providers. This has forced New Zealand's largest maternity hospital to try and win back patients, by offering something 'extra'.

"The Health Funding Authority says it does not agree with a two-tier service and is discussing the issue with Auckland Healthcare. However, it is the HFA's funding of private providers that has forced National Women's to try and compete. A little chat isn't going to fix this problem.

"The next Labour Government will remove the competitive model and will not allow economic apartheid in the health service," Annette King said.

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