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Cautious Welcome To Health Funding

ATTENTION: HEALTH REPORTER NO. OF PAGES: 1

MEDIA STATEMENT FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE,
MONDAY 10 DECEMBER 2001

“Cautious Welcome To Health Funding But More Details Needed"

“The three-year health funding package announced today for district health boards is cautiously welcomed but more details are needed before it can be fully evaluated,” said Mr Ian Powell, Executive Director of the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists, today.

“It implicitly recognises that the government got it badly wrong over health funding in this year’s Budget. It is a welcome attempt to correct the sustained under-funding by successive governments that has compromised patient services for years.”

“Positive features are the admission of past under-funding, the longer-term planning, and the move to permanent baseline funding away from time-limited ad hoc arrangements.”

“But the first year of the plan will still be tight with the first year increase close to the rate of inflation because it is significantly offset by the $120 million allocated to help reduce rapidly increasing deficits. It is only in the second and third years of this package that there is the promise of some light at the end of the tunnel. It will be the details, however, that decide whether the light is the end of the tunnel or a train coming in the opposite direction.”

“It is important that the rest of the money gets to health professionals providing patient services. We can’t afford to have it siphoned off elsewhere,” concluded Mr Powell.


ENDS

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