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Annette King elected chair of Health Symposium


Annette King elected chair of Health Symposium

Health Minister Annette King has been unanimously elected chair of the third Global Symposium on health and welfare systems development in the 21st century.

The symposium began today at the World Health Organisation (WHO) Centre for Health Development in Kobe, Japan. It is being attended by about 60 delegates, including 17 Health Ministers, from African, Asian and Pacific countries.

The symposium, which is looking at public and private sector involvement in health systems, follows a WHO Kobe Centre consultative meeting held in Dunedin in February last year. That meeting looked at private sector involvement in city health sectors.

Ms King said today she had been very pleased that Dunedin was chosen for the consultative meeting, and she was honoured to have been elected to chair the Kobe Symposium.

Ms King told the Symposium today that there was no “right level” of private health spending in public health systems, but New Zealand aimed to create a climate of collaboration between the two sectors.

“There are policy dilemmas associated with the flexible role the private sector has in a publicly funded health system. The mix of public and private services and funding is not static. It is important to remain flexible.

“Irrespective of the profit motivation, and the private or public nature of services, I believe governments should always have the key role in leading the health sector.

“The change in our primary health care approach in New Zealand is an example of a Government moving again to increase its involvement in a predominantly private health care setting.”


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