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Health Funding Exposed

Health Funding Exposed

Friday 24 Sep 2004

Heather Roy - Press Releases - Health

ACT New Zealand Health Spokesman Heather Roy today released new information showing that Health Minister Annette King's official health funding increases, detailed by Labour in the Budget, grossly overstate real funding changes to District Health Boards.

"Ms King's Budget figures claimed a $547.5 million operating increase for all DHB's this year. My information shows that, of this, $218.6 million was to fund disability services not previously the Boards' responsibility, but funded by the Health Ministry," said Mrs Roy.

"Ms King has been deliberately deceptive on DHBs' increased operating funding. When the $218.6 million is deducted, DHB's combined have had only a $329 million increase - Hutt Valley and Otago have been cut. In nine other DHBs, the increase is under three percent.

"If that isn't deceptive enough, $38 million of the reduced figure is for the increased Capital Charge, which automatically returns to the Government - in effect, a money-go-round.

"Statistics New Zealand has reported that healthcare costs inflation was 4.2 percent for the year to June 2004. This means that, in real terms, 11 of the 21 Boards have a cut - a real funding cut, which cannot be justified when the inflation in health costs faced by DHBs is considered. This is a disgrace, and an insight into Labours deception".

"This is a serious concern for the 11 Boards, which have not even kept pace with inflation, and will place even greater pressure on elective surgery in most DHBs - especially when a higher proportion of each Board's funding is required to go to higher primary care subsidies.

"There is a common deceptive spin in the funding claims and recent revelations that, in contrast to the Prime Minister's claims, waiting lists have gone up to 56,000 under Labour.

"This was revealed in Parliament last week, when the Associate Health Minister admitted there were 25,000 persons assessed as needing operations on the booked waiting list, and another 31,000 on the less well known Active Review list.

"We have a double deception by the Government - first over funding levels, then over the true state of waiting lists. This is not what people expected of Helen Clark's health election pledges - nor did they expect deception."

"I call on the Prime Minister and the Health Minister to refute these facts, or come clean and justify why they are actually cutting resources for surgical services when they have now confessed the true state of our waiting lists," Mrs Roy said.

ENDS

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