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Christian Heritage Says Retain HFA

31 October 1999

Gael Donoghue
Health Spokesperson

Christian Heritage Says Retain HFA

Retaining the Health Funding Authority, provided the amount of bureaucracy is reduced, is a common sense move for the incoming Government, according to Gael Donoghue, Health Spokesperson for the Christian Heritage Party. She was commenting on Health Policies released recently. "The money saved from the bureaucratic reduction can then be used for patient care, eg reducing elective surgery waiting lists," she said.

"The New Zealand public are well aware of the Ministerial 'hands off' approach now pervading the civil service bureaucracy, as evidenced by the huge taxpayer spend-ups by various CEOs of Government Departments and Ministries. If the HFA was absorbed into the Health Ministry as announced in Labour's Health policy, huge amounts of tax payers' money would just disappear as in the past, into this enlarged Ministry, with the loss of accountability," said Mrs Donoghue. It is far better to retain a smaller, efficient funding authority which is directly answerable to the Minister: a lean transparent, assessable and accountable model is advocated by the Christian Heritage Party," she said.

Similarly Pharmac should be retained as a separate entity, but with much more accountability to the Minister in regard to policy directions. The current Pharmac funding policies are causing further suffering for many patients both physically and financially, a great deal of frustration for the doctors and pharmacists of the country, and a loss of Pharmaceutical companies to New Zealand, which not only affects health adversely but also economic investment.

"Christian Heritage Health Policy also wants accountability to the local community in regard to our Hospital Boards, not political puppets. The Party will require a system of democratically elected members," Gael Donoghue said.

With respect to Mr Creech, the Health Minister's comment that provincial New Zealand does not want or need more hospitals: "How out of touch can you get?" she asked. "Provincial people are passionate about retaining the hospitals they have and are very upset at the loss that some communities have already suffered. The Christian Heritage Party supports retention of local hospitals, and transfer to new community facilities if the original buildings no longer meet quality standards.

"The decline in General Practice in rural areas and the huge exit from maternity care with the negative effects resulting from this, are also of concern to the Christian Heritage Party. The Party view of the General Medical Practitioners as the gatekeepers of primary health for our people needs endorsement and encouragement. More recognition and appreciation of their professional training is also needed," concluded Mrs Donoghue.


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