INDEPENDENT NEWS

Access To Quality Health - ACT

Published: Tue 2 Nov 1999 11:09 AM
No issue is more difficult than health. The advances in medicine mean that the range of treatments available has increased enormously. Some of these marvellous advances are very expensive.
ACT says that to ensure access to health care means we need to use the resources of both the public and private sector. The ideological approach of the Labour/Alliance coalition saying that public health care is good and private health is bad is unrealistic and unworkable.
Capital Coast Health has managed to cut the waiting list for heart operations by contracting with the private sector, with Wakefield Hospital. The operations are quicker, and cheaper.
Not one constituent has complained to me about having their heart operation performed in a private hospital. Indeed, one of the country’s most militant left wingers wrote to me asking if his operation could be done at Wakefield.
ACT wants to see this extended.
Here in Wellington, I have led the fight for a new hospital. It should have happened years ago.
ACT says that the contract should be fully contestable. Let’s examine the cost of the Ministry’s proposal and then ask the private sector for their proposals.
In Victoria, similar contracting has resulted not just in significant savings but in very significant improvements in service quality for patients.
The new A clinic for Wellington should have been put up for tender to see whether a private sector financed, built and operated unit would be a better solution.
ACT wishes to revive a proposal of National’s – to allow individuals to opt out of the public sector and make their own health arrangements.
ACT will be releasing separately a policy statement on GPs. ACT believes that GPs, especially rural GPs, are under great stress.
ACT wants to encourage more New Zealanders to have their own health insurance. In the last decade the number of people covered by insurance has dropped significantly.
ACT believes that our tax policy to be announced tomorrow will make health insurance affordable for many New Zealanders.
ACT’s tax proposals do not include any cut in the overall expenditure on health. New Zealand today spends about 7% percent of GDP on health, which is the OECD average. Given the growing demand for health services, while ACT believes there is considerable scope in getting more for the health dollar, ACT has no plans to cut the overall level of health expenditure.
Finally, speaking as the MP for Wellington Central, I have led the fight for a new tertiary hospital for Wellington to be built here in Newtown.
If I am in a position of influence after the 27th of November, that hospital will proceed. We are still awaiting a similar commitment from Labour.
ends

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