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Health Service Cuts Would Cause Long-Term Harm

Published: Fri 13 Jul 2001 02:08 PM
Health Service Cuts Would Cause Long-Term Harm - Kedgley
Health service cuts proposed by the Auckland District Health Board to deal with a predicted $62 million funding shortfall would inevitably lead to more serious health problems and result in further health budget blowouts, the Green Party said today.
To avoid more serious health problems for patients in the long term, Green Health spokesperson Sue Kedgley urged the Health Minister to live up to her past commitments not to cut health services because of funding shortfalls
"Health Minister Annette King has promised New Zealand that hospitals will retain the same level of services, so she can not in good faith approve service cuts in Auckland," said Ms Kedgley.
"Clearly the Government is going to have to stump up more money to overcome this health funding crisis. When one of our largest district health boards is looking at service cuts, just one month into the financial year, the financial pressures on our health system are obviously extreme."
Ms Kedgley said the Green Party had raised concerns on budget day that the health and education budgets would not be able to cope with wage strains in the coming year.
"The Chief Executive of the Auckland District Health Board, Graeme Edmond said today that staff pay rises have been 2.5-3 percent annually and 4-5 percent this year, but health funding has risen by about 0.5 percent for the past four years. It's obvious from these numbers that the only way to keep paying staff is to cut back somewhere else in the health system, and eventually that will impact on services and quality of care."
Ms Kedgley said she was concerned that the financial crisis could result in increased rationing of health services - either treating fewer patients or treating patients to a lower level of quality.
Ends

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