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Short-Term Kaitaia Hospital Solution Welcomed

Friday, 12 July 2002

Short-Term Solution Welcomed, Long-Term Solution Needed

The New Zealand Medical Association is pleased that a short-term solution has been found to the crisis at Kaitaia Hospital.

"Health Minister Annette King has listened to the concerns of clinicians and has accepted the need for more staff to work at the hospital," NZMA Chairman Dr John Adams said.

"We note that the solution is for three months only, and it is important that discussion continues so that permanent solutions can be found to address all the problems."

Dr Adams said the situation in Kaitaia was similar to what was happening in many small towns around New Zealand.

"Kaitaia is a lightening rod for a public health system under stress. All around New Zealand there are problems with access to and availability of health services.

"Resources - both financial and personnel - are scarce, and it is essential that safety is not put at risk in the search for solutions. Many district health boards are faced with huge deficits, and must try to reduce them without compromising standards. Cutting services may be the only viable option in many cases."

Dr Adams said the Government needed to lead an national debate about what the public health system can provide, and how. National solutions are needed, rather than plugging the gaps when they appear in regional areas.


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