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Nats duck for cover on health effects of ACC cuts

18 November 2009
Media Statement

National ducks for cover on health effects of ACC cutbacks

There will be more pressure on hospital services and more user-pays for patients because of National’s ACC cutbacks, but the Minister of Health Tony Ryall has failed to prepare the health sector, Labour Health spokesperson Ruth Dyson says.

“It is gobsmackingly arrogant and verging on incompetent for Tony Ryall not to have investigated how ACC cutbacks will impact patients and health services before they went ahead,” Ruth Dyson said.

“Director General of Health Stephen McKernan confirmed during a select committee hearing today that Tony Ryall had not sought information on the impact of ACC cut backs prior to the Government agreeing to the reduction in services.

“The fact the health sector is not in a position to deliver the increased counselling that will be required for sexual abuse victims who have been turned away from ACC or deliver increased services for elderly injured as a result of the falls cancellation is appalling. The Ministry of Health also confirmed DHBs had not been kept informed about changes in ACC that has resulted in more people being declined for ACC funded orthopaedic surgery and were now being referred to DHBs waiting lists.

“How can the Minister of Health be so arrogant as to not even let health professionals know that his Government will be dumping patients off ACC and on to DHB waiting lists?

“Tony Ryall has repeatedly talked about a whole of government approach, getting rid of silo thinking and the Government not making decisions that simply shift the cost to the taxpayer from one government agency to another.

“But it’s clear his comments were nothing more than rhetoric, ACC cut backs will mean more and more patients being moved from ACC’s books to the health sectors and the taxpayer will pick up the tab.

“It is impossible to separate ACC from the health sector, yet the Minister of Health Tony Ryall has buried his head in sand on the issue despite the fact that cutbacks and the introduction of levies will directly affect the health of New Zealanders.

“The National Government and Tony Ryall have failed the health system and patients by failing to prepare for the cutbacks in ACC,” Ruth Dyson said.

ENDS

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