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Govt Warned Not To Under-Fund Public Hospitals

“Senior Doctors Warn Government Not To Under-Fund Public Hospitals”

“Senior doctors are warning the government not to under-fund public hospitals in this year’s budget as they are already struggling to cope,” said Mr Ian Powell, Executive Director of the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists, today. This followed reports that public hospital funding will only increase by 0.5% in this year’s budget.

“If it is correct that public hospital funding will only increase by 0.5% then this represents an actual funding cut once inflation, population growth and increased acute admissions are considered. It would mean that this government is repeating the fatal error of the previous government about 10 years ago in drastically cutting public hospital funding. We are still suffering the consequences of those cuts. Governments should learn from historical mistakes rather than make a career out of repeating them.”

“Senior doctors have struggled over the past decade to provide safe quality care for patients despite an unstable and under-funded system that has eroded their ability to do this. To expect them to go through more of this is simply unreasonable and unfair for their patients.”

“This government has done some good things such as removing the commercial system that previous drove our public hospitals and last year increasing baseline public hospital spending. But it can’t afford to rest on its laurels or undermine that good work. It should build on rather than destabilise the building blocks it has established.”

“If it is also correct that the government has sworn district health boards to secrecy over public hospital funding then this would be extremely unwise and even stupid. Secrecy simply increases suspicion and tension. It also encourages negative ‘off-the-record’ comments that are often damaging. The public are not fools and are entitled to open positive debate over what the level of public funding is and should be.”

“If the government is looking to impose what will amount as a real cut to public hospital funding, then it should reconsider before further damage is done.”

“Should it proceed with this reported under-funding then it will make an absolute fool of itself if it then engages in political spin and hype pretending it is something else. Real doctors will know what the truth is and expose it regardless of how political spin doctors might fudge it,” concluded Mr Powell.

Ian Powell


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