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Government Should Listen To Health Budget Warning

“Government Should Listen To Warnings Over Budget Health Funding Decisions; Risk Of Shock Therapy”

“The government should listen to the warnings over the level of health funding in the Budget,” said Mr Ian Powell, Executive Director of the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists, today. Mr Powell was responding to the analysis of the Council of Trade Unions that an additional $555 million was required (including around $450 million for district health boards) if the health system is simply to maintain itself and cope with population growth.

“The CTU’s valuable assessment deliberately excludes the achievement of government objectives such as increasing the role of health professionals in decision-making, overcoming the senior doctor workforce shortage crisis, increasing non-life threatening surgical operations, and increasing senior doctor involvement in resident (junior) doctor training.”

“In last year’s budget the government increased funding to DHBs by around $750 million. In this year’s budget the rate of increase is expected to be dramatically slashed by around half this amount. There is a serious risk that using such a blunt fiscal instrument will force DHBs to adopt ‘shock therapy’ measures with the victims being patients.”

“The government needs a sense of perspective. DHB deficits need to be brought under control but not through blunt instruments. These deficits amount to less than 2% of funding to DHBs. Not only should the tail not wag the dog, it should not be allowed to maim or kill it either,” concluded Mr Powell.

ENDS

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