Key’s Misleading Claims On Hospital Productivity
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ATTENTION: HEALTH REPORTER
STATEMENT FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE,
THURSDAY 9 OCTOBER 2008
“John Key’s Misleading Claims On Hospital Productivity Unfair And Regrettable Slur On Health Professionals”
“National Party leader John Key’s misleading claims on hospital productivity are unfair and a regrettable slur on senior doctors and other dedicated health professionals working in public hospitals,” said Mr Ian Powell, Executive Director of the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists, today. Mr Powell was referring to Mr Key’s comments about hospital productivity made on TV3’s John Campbell programme last night.
“Mr Key’s accusation is based on misusing Treasury data which compared those activities which can be counted and increased health spending. However, those activities that can be counted (inpatient discharges) only represent around 35% of total hospital activities. Further, most of increased government spending has not been spent on maintaining existing hospital services. Instead it has been spent on primary care (eg, supporting GP services), expansion of new hospital services and hospital building redevelopment.”
“Treasury data reveal very little about what actually happens in public hospitals but this has not stopped Mr Key from making an unfair slur on senior doctors and other health professionals. Given that what happens in public hospitals depends so much on the workforce, the logical implication of Mr Key’s uninformed comment is that they don’t work hard enough and have got slacker over the last decade. And yet it is the workforce that is holding the health system together.”
“Overwhelmingly the public appreciate that New Zealand has a highly dedicated, skilled and hard-working health workforce. Mr Key would do well to also appreciate this,” concluded Mr Powell.