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People's Forum Against User Pays Health

People's Forum Against User Pays Health

The injustice that is user-pays in our public health system, exploitation of the elderly living in privatised and profit driven rest-homes, and the low pay and poor conditions of care workers will be the focus of discussion at the upcoming and reinvigorated Wellington People's Forum, organised by the Alliance Party.

The first forum for the year will be held on Sunday 20th February at Crossways Community Centre, Mt Victoria (cnr Elizabeth and Brougham Streets) and will start at 2pm.

One area of particular concern to be raised is the proposal from the Capital Coast Health Board to charge patients for after-hours care - yet another disastrous expansion of user pays in our public health system. Another issue to be discussed at the forum is the state of provision of care for the elderly, which is becoming an increasingly profit-driven industry.

Speakers at this month's forum include public health advocate Jim Traue, and Service and Food Workers Union (SFWU) organiser Alistair Duncan. The SFWU, which represents many caregivers and support workers, is currently running a joint campaign with the New Zealand Nurses Organisation, highlighting the poor pay and conditions of those working in the aged care sector.

The Alliance is calling for a fully funded public health system: the elimination of user pays and means testing; meaningful community control of health provision and an end to wasteful bureaucracy; the abolition of prescription charges (including hearing and eye test charges); free dental care; pay equity for nurses and other health care workers; fully funded public education for the health workforce; and an immediate and significant increase in funding for mental health services.

The Wellington People's Forum will be held monthly, and is open for all members of the public to attend and participate. Afternoon tea will be served once the formal presentations and discussion are over. Costs are covered by koha.

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