Privatisation of health on political agenda

Published: Thu 25 Aug 2011 11:31 AM
Media Release
Wednesday 24 August 2011
Privatisation of health on political agenda
The West Coast DHB's "suggestions" of introducing private surgery at Grey Hospital and, "shifting hospital services into GP practices and the community", as reported recently in the West Coast media is another step in the process of successive governments chipping away at the public health system, according to Democrats for Social Credit health spokesman David Tranter.
"While putting private surgery in public hospitals may bring in some extra funding it must be remembered that when the theatres are booked for private operations, they are not available as a public health asset and the time surgeons spend working in the private sector reduces the hours available for them to be contracted to undertake work in the public sector. This also throws into doubt the frequent claim that waiting lists will be shortened for public system patients since it introduces the issue of private patients queue-jumping ahead of the public, a concept which DSC regards as utterly immoral" Mr. Tranter said.
"Health care should be provided according to need, not the patients' ability to pay.
"Regarding the WCDHB's suggestion of "shifting hospital services into GP practices and the community" the question has to be asked as to how far this government and the Coast DHB think G.P.s can be stretched when many are already flat out coping with the work they already have" Mr. Tranter said.
"If this is followed through in the Buller district - as just one example - where shortages of G.P.s occur as regularly as clockwork, what is going to happen to patients then? Like the infiltration of private surgery into public hospitals the shift to GP/medical centre based services has been happening for years, which sounds loud alarm bells as to the real intentions of the major political parties.
"New Zealanders can hardly be blamed for being unaware when their public health services are eroded step by tiny step but given that such matters are now being talked about openly DSC raises the question as to what the politicians and their health bureaucrats are discussing behind closed doors. It is no longer a matter of whether successive governments want to completely privatise health care - but when" Mr. Tranter said.

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