INDEPENDENT NEWS

Labour To Axe Local Hospital Wards

Published: Mon 17 Nov 2003 02:06 PM
Labour To Axe Local Hospital Wards
Monday 17 Nov 2003 Heather Roy Press Releases -- Health
ACT New Zealand Health Spokesman Heather Roy today accused the Labour Government of trying to conceal its plans to abolish local wards for health board elections next year, as proposed in a discussion document sent to District Health Boards.
"This document purports to seek the community's views - but it has received less public exposure than more trivial matters, such as a news release inviting people to `chat online' with Health Minister Annette King," Mrs Roy said.
"Once again, this Government is trying to sneak through a change that it knows the community will oppose. This move is clearly an attempt to dilute the level of local say in health board elections and politicise them to Labour's electoral benefit.
"There has been much community disquiet over the actual level of autonomy which has trickled down to local health boards - which appear to be responsible for carrying the can for any adverse publicity that Labour does not want, such as health deficits, cuts to elective services, or problems with mental health funding.
"Clearly Labour believes that, with at-large elections - plus its three Ministerial appointments, to health boards - it will be able to dominate the boards across the country, and avoid any election year adverse criticisms.
"The Government must re-launch its consultation, publicise it properly, and engage local communities to find out what they want, rather than imposing it by Ms King's royal decree," Mrs Roy said.
* People only have until Wednesday 19th November to make a submission. Papers can be read at www.moh.govt.nz (http://www.moh.govt.nz/) . Submissions can be made by email at stv_submissions@moh.govt.nz
ENDS
For more information visit ACT online at http://www.act.org.nz or contact the ACT Parliamentary Office at act@parliament.govt.nz.

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