INDEPENDENT NEWS

Hunger strike because Minister Ignors GP Shortage

Published: Tue 22 Oct 2002 01:13 PM
Hunger strike because Minister is ignoring GP shortage
The Minister of Health is failing to grasp the seriousness of New Zealand’s health problems, when we have Taumarunui health workers hunger striking to bring attention to a lack of funding, says National Health spokesperson Dr Lynda Scott.
“A doctor and two nurses having to hunger strike to gain her attention is so extreme you have to wonder if we are living in a first or a third-world country.
The town of Taumarunui should have four GP’s on Section 88 contracts, and five if you count the wider Taumarunui area, but the area only has three GPs.
“Patients in Taumarunui are missing out on GP cover on week days when they should have access to a seven-day-a-week 24-hour cover.
“In an area desperate for primary care doctors the Ministry’s bureaucratic approach fails to recognize the seriousness of the situation for rural New Zealand.
The availability of Section 88 contracts is an issue in many parts of the country.
“The Ministry of Health has the ability to vary the contract but is refusing to because of the seven-day a week cover rule. By not acting for this desperate community Health Minister Annette King is depriving patients in pain and in urgent need of services,” Dr Scott said.

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