INDEPENDENT NEWS

Health reforms side-line Maori - National

Published: Tue 29 Feb 2000 04:56 PM
The Government’s promises to improve the situation for Maori seem to have been forgotten in its plans to restructure the health sector, Opposition Health spokesperson Wyatt Creech said today.
“Papers released under the Official Information Act today show Te Puni Kokiri is deeply concerned about the loss of Maori representation within Health and Disability Services.
“The health reforms threaten to sideline Maori health services.
“The briefing papers reveal Te Puni Kokiri is concerned that ‘District Health Boards may interfere with the significant advancements over the past ten years in terms of Maori representation in the purchasing and provision of health services.’
“TPK is worried about possible District Health Board mergers, the establishment of DHBs from existing HHS structures, and the integration of services to reduce transaction costs at the expense of community providers. TPK says such integration could effectively compromise the diverse range of Maori services offered to whanau, hapu, iwi and Maori.
“Ministers have also been advised that the plans do ‘not reflect adequate consultation or meaningful representation, especially given the pace at which restructuring is to be implemented.’
“The concerns from TPK reflect fears from the head of Massey University’s Maori Studies Department. Mason Durie says there is a risk that Maori initiative and expertise in health service delivery will be lost to a new wave of regional control and a type of mainstream delivery that overlooks the importance of culture and active Maori participation to health.
“Annette King is getting advice from officials and from the health sector that her reforms are going too far too fast. She is narrow-mindedly pressing on with unnecessary and unsettling structural upheaval to our health system and it won’t improve health services one bit.”
Ends

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