Labour calls for South Auckland health strategy
"The Government can't continue to treat South Auckland, with its huge problems, as it does more affluent and healthy areas. Nowhere else is the different approach of National and Labour to public health care so starkly demonstrated.
"National's approach focuses on how many procedures a hospital carries out. It has failed to shift resources to tackle the causes of poor health - poverty, inadequate housing, a lack of education and employment opportunities, unhealthy environments and gaps in primary health care.
"South Auckland does not have enough GPs or health clinics. Manukau City has 196 GPs serving a population of 277,000. That's a rate of 71 per 100,000 people. Auckland City has 407 GPs looking after 378,000 people - a rate of 107 per 100,000. (NZ Medical Council May 99).
"The Government has long been warned about the growing rate of diseases of poverty in South Auckland, like meningococcal disease and respiratory infections. It has twiddled its thumbs since receiving proposals from Middlemore Hospital to co-ordinate a primary health strategy. While it procrastinates, the children of South Auckland are suffering in Third World conditions.
"Labour will re-establish the Public Health Goals that National abolished. Resources will go to primary healthcare providers who will be expected to meet these goals, such as improving immunisation rates and reducing rates of asthma and smoking. Labour is committed to integrated care and early intervention.
"The South Auckland crisis highlights the failure of National's market-driven health experiment," Annette King said.
"The health of South Auckland children has fallen to a "critical level of unacceptability". So has the performance of the Government. Its members should be hanging their heads in shame."