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Patients pushed off lists

Media Release

Friday, 12th May 2006

Patients pushed off lists

“Anxiety and despair will be the result of the latest round of rationing of health services” according to Stephnie de Ruyter, Leader of Democrats for social credit.

“Taking thousands of patients off waiting lists and referring them back to their GPs is an inexcusable betrayal of the trust sick New Zealanders place in their public health system.

“Increased admission acuity levels make it clear that too many people are waiting too long for operations. The time to receive medical attention is as and when it is needed, but current practice suggests that patients must be willing to wait until DHB funding allows for it.

“This rationing of services is a funding issue. It falls to the Government through the Ministry of Health to determine spending priorities, and the health vote is, admittedly, an expensive one. This is due in part at least due to the interest-bearing debt borrowed from overseas banks by the Government then on-lent to DHBs.

“But if the overall health and well-being of New Zealanders is a priority, as is so often expressed in the Ministry of Health’s various strategy documents, it makes sense for the Government to explore funding options other than those presently employed.

“Our Party’s funding option requires that the Reserve Bank of New Zealand be the source of borrowed health funds, lending without interest charges but including a small administration charge. This would relieve DHBs of the burden of interest-bearing debt and allow for realistic public health funding” Ms de Ruyter said.

“Under our formula, waiting lists could really be reduced and arbitrary rationing of health services would cease” she concluded.

ENDS

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