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Health cuts make children biggest losers  

Media Release Thursday 19th November, 2009

Health cuts make children biggest losers

Children's advocates Child Poverty Action Group are alarmed at indications that health spending will be cut even further next year.

This has come just days after the news that high after-hours doctors’ fees are a major barrier to children getting medical help when they need it.

"So far this year there have been cuts to funding for child and family-focused social services, cuts to primary health and health promotion services, and despite all the talk about improving frontline services, cuts to those very services," said Professor Innes Asher.

"It is unacceptable to put the health of children at risk in this way."

Cuts to health this year have targeted diabetes, cardiovascular disease, mental health, and Fruit in Schools coordinators. CPAG says that instead of cutting funding to primary health services, the government should be spending more to ensure that children are healthy and capable of learning.

"We are very worried about possible cuts to children's health services at the very time when we should be expanding them so as to ensure they are not the biggest losers in the recession," said Professor Asher.

"Falling family incomes have left children very vulnerable to the risk of poor health from overcrowding and poor nutrition. Our child health statistics are already a cause for national shame. We cannot let short-term cost cutting measures make them even worse."

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