HFA bias on fertility contracts

Published: Thu 22 Jul 1999 01:03 PM
The Health Funding Authority's bias towards private health providers is placing another service at National Women's Hospital under serious threat, Labour health spokesperson Annette King revealed today.
"Earlier this week, I revealed that the HFA is about to remove the cap on the number of maternity patients it will fund at the private provider Birthcare Auckland. As a result, National Women's Hospital will handle fewer births, get less funding and will have to reduce services.
"The Fertility clinic at National Women's also faces closure as a direct result of HFA funding decisions," Annette King said.
"In 1995 National Women's lost the infertility contract for the Auckland region to a private clinic, Fertility Associates. The Hospital has continued to provide fertility services for Waikato couples, under a contract with the Hamilton office of the HFA.
"This Waikato contract is now being put out for competitive tender, at the request of Fertility Associates. At the same time, the Auckland office of the HFA is refusing to put the Auckland contract up for tender, despite repeated requests from National Women's.
"The HFA claims there is no evidence of potential gains from contracting out the service. Yet National Women's believes it can provide the service for at least $400,000 less than Fertility Associates can.
"The National Government's competitive model for health does not have a level playing field. There's one rule for private providers and another for public hospitals.
"The Minister of Health won't act. But I will be passing this information on the Audit Office. The Auditor-General has already agreed to investigate possible deficiencies in the awarding of a sexual health contract in Wellington. I will now ask for another investigation into the suspect contracting procedures of the HFA," Annette King said.

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