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Govt presides over discriminatory health funding

Paul Hutchison MP National Party Health Spokesman

24 October 2005

Government presides over discriminatory health funding

The plan by Capital and Coast and Hutt Valley DHB to charge patients for private pathology testing is discriminatory and should not be allowed to happen without full nationwide consultation, says National Party Health spokesman Paul Hutchison.

"The fact that general practitioners, as well as specialists, are all private businesses has seemingly escaped Capital and Coast and Hutt Valley DHB. If the plan goes ahead it will mean unfairness for patients living in the Wellington region and possibly other parts of the country," says Dr Hutchison.

"It could mean patients who are facing, for example, breast or prostate surgery in private could have hundreds if not thousands of dollars added to their costs.

"These costs will either need to be paid upfront, or through an increase in premiums if private health insurers step in to cover the costs.

"Either way, it means that because of increasing costs many will be forced to seek treatment back in the public health system, which is not coping despite the extra billions poured into it by the Government.

"These DHBs will be penalising private patients who already pay tax which supports the public health sector.

"Those people who choose to pay private health premiums or pay out of their own pocket take the load off the public waiting lists and now they will be forced to pay for their own laboratory tests as well.

"New Health Minister Pete Hodgson must come to his senses and ensure that there is choice as well as equity in health throughout New Zealand," says Dr Hutchison.

ENDS

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