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Health Minister Both Right And Wrong

MEDIA STATEMENT FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE,

THURSDAY 14 JUNE 2001

“Health Minister Both Right And Wrong”

“Health Minister Annette King was both right and wrong today in answering questions from opposition MPs in Parliament today,” said Mr Ian Powell, Executive Director of the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists, today.

“She was right to distance herself from the nasty comments previously made about the motives of senior doctors in public hospitals by the Treasurer Michael Cullen. Mr Cullen’s suggestion that we were motivated more by salaries than concern for patients was both untrue and unfair. Good on her for distancing herself from that rubbish.”

“It was also right for her to say that she would continue to listen to rather than dismiss criticism that we might make from time to time. Contestability of views is central to a sector as important, dedicated and compassionate as the health service. Not all her predecessors could ‘hand on heart’ state the same.

“However, she was wrong to suggest that we do not believe investing in primary health care is good. We strongly support improved funding for primary health although unfortunately the government’s Budget was inadequate in this area. We have members who work outside public hospitals, who work in primary care and who work alongside doctors working in primary care. Overwhelmingly doctors wherever they work recognise the importance in investing in primary care.”

“What we said, and what she disregarded, was that investing more in primary care would not reduce the pressure on public hospitals at least for many years and it was wrong to use this argument to justify under-funding public hospitals,” concluded Mr Powell.

Ian Powell
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

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