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Private Sector Involvement Is Answer to Crisis

Private Sector Involvement Is Answer to Health Crisis


The Auckland District Health Board's revelation that it plans to cut services by $30 million over the next two years, is further evidence that the government's health policies are fundamentally flawed, ACT leader Richard Prebble says.

"What's concerning about the latest cuts is that Health Minister Annette King has no answer except to continue to float the idea of a dedicated health tax ' as if extra taxes were the answer," Mr Prebble said.

"As Auckland board member Gary Taylor accurately states, New Zealand's spending on health is above the OECD average. What Mr Taylor doesn't say is that New Zealand's health sector is one of the most inefficient.

"Singapore spends less GDP per person on health and is ranked sixth by the World Health Organisation in an international comparison of healthcare systems, while New Zealand is ranked 41 st . After these latest health cuts we'll fall even further.

"Annette King's ideological opposition to private health providers has led her to rule out the most efficient way of providing much elective surgery.

"Labour's promise to restore elected health boards has caused enormous disruption, with health dollars being diverted to the employment of yet another layer of expensive managers. Elected health boards won't help a single New Zealander to get an operation. But the diversion of the health dollar will prevent many New Zealanders getting access to healthcare.

"The government's ideological commitment to the public health sector model means more wasteful bureaucracy.

"ACT notes that all other parties are bereft of new ideas or practical solutions to the health crisis. ACT alone is proposing for the state to use the resources of both the private and public sectors.

"This is the way Australia is going and we note that the manifesto of the re-elected Blair government in Britain calls for the involvement of the private sector in providing hospital services ' the same as ACT's policy.

"The Blair government has done a U-turn on its ideological opposition to the private sector after five years of failure with the National Health Service. I hope New Zealand doesn't have to wait five years for the inevitable failure of King and Clark's opposition to using the private sector," Mr Prebble said.

ENDS

For more information visit ACT online at http://www.act.org.nz or contact the ACT Parliamentary Office at act@parliament.govt.nz.

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