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Health service cuts a blow to senior citizens

12 December 2010 Media Statement

Health service cuts a blow to senior citizens

Labour’s Spokesperson for Senior Citizens, Ross Robertson MP, is alarmed at reports that more than $17 million in hospital services and $10 million in community based services are about to be slashed in Wellington.

“We have an ageing population, and accessible health services are vital to ensure our senior citizens are able to stay well and live full and productive lives,” said Ross Robertson.

“More than 110 frontline health services have been cut in New Zealand, but clearly that number is about to be blown out of the water by reports that $17 million in hospital services is going to be cut in Wellington. And i n addition, $10 million will be stripped from community services. In Wellington outreach mental health services, addiction services and services provided to elderly are all community services and all look likely to be cut back,” he said.

“Capital and Coast DHB not only cares for patients from Wellington, but is the major tertiary level hospital for the lower North Island and upper South Island. These cuts will affect a wide group of people, many of them our elderly.

“On his recent resignation, Ken Whelan, CEO of Capital and Coast District Health Board, explained in an email to staff that he felt there was no more room to cut the district health board's costs, despite government pressure to do so, thereby highlighting the opinion of professionals that government cuts are indeed causing damage to health of New Zealanders,” he said.

“And unfortunately Wellington is not the only place set to see considerable funding cuts. In Taranaki nearly $90,000 has been cut from diabetes services, and Taihape health services are in danger of closing. All these communities will be seriously worried for the future.

“In the New Zealand Positive Ageing Strategy promoted by the government, the Health goal reads “Equitable, timely, affordable and accessible health services for older people” – a goal that seems at odds with these outrageous health service cuts.

“Our senior citizens deserve far better,” said Ross Robertson.


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