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Health Crisis Forces Govt Into Early Announcement

9 December 2001

Tomorrow's health funding announcement by the Government is effectively bringing forward next May's Budget announcement because the health system is under so much pressure, National Health spokesperson Roger Sowry said today.

The Government is reportedly announcing tomorrow $1.5 billion funding to health over the next three years, with a large portion going to primary care.

"We can't judge the significance of the funding until it is known how much individual district health boards will get for hospital-based secondary care services.

"However the Minister saying today that a sizeable chunk of the funding will be going to primary care indicates the situation for cash-strapped hospitals won't get much better. Waiting lists will get longer and hospitals will continue to run up bigger deficits by the week.

"The Government is trying to make people think they care about health by announcing three years of funding at once.

"This announcement is really about politics. It is about buying a comfort level for the next election.

"The Government has had to act because the public is so despondent that it has allowed health services to get to a crisis point. The devil in this announcement will be in the detail," Mr Sowry said.

Ends


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