26 October 2000
Public Health System Still Feeling The Pressure, Says United
Funding problems and the difficulty of rural and provincial areas recruiting and retaining qualified medical staff is
reaching serious proportions. Reports that Hawera Hospital in Taranaki faces serious downgrading of services and Kidz
First Children's Hospital in South Auckland has been forced to scavenge for financial support, says United New Zealand
leader Hon Peter Dunne.
"Unfortunately, these two cases are merely indicative of the problems facing the public health sector.
"In Hawera locals are understandably fearful that their hospital may be downgraded to clinic status because of
difficulties recruiting a new physician. As it is, serious surgical cases are already being sent to New Plymouth," says
He says this situation comes at the same time as South Auckland Health is fundraising in the community to fund the new
Kidz First Children's Hospital. Manukau City Council has received requests for $19,000 of funding for basic equipment
such as cots and caregivers' beds.
"It is a sorry situation when children's health needs to be funded directly by the community. Clearly the Government
must urgently address this rather bizarre situation.
"The public will quickly lose confidence in their public health system if these situations are allowed to continue. In
Taranaki, where there are clearly serious funding problems, public confidence can only be eroded further by the news
that their health authority must pay a former employee more than $70,000 for a personal grievance case - funds that
should be invested in health services.
"The Government must urgently address these serious problems in the health sector and deliver a vision and strategy for
public health in New Zealand," says Mr Dunne.